Branding is one of the most important activities for any business. It ensures that prospects understand who you are and what you do — even if they’ve never encountered your brand before.
Branding encompasses every aspect of your business: it’s your personality, values, and mission, the way you interact with customers, and what differentiates you from competitors. Branding is your chance to create the image you want and decide how you want customers to perceive you.
If you have an online presence and social media accounts, you are already engaging in digital and social branding. However, unless you are actively using a brand strategy, you may not be creating the exact impression you want.
What Is Social Branding?
When businesses launch, they often turn first to social media. This is because it is both easier and cheaper to create social media profiles than to design a website. In fact, social media allows you to have an online presence almost instantly. For this reason, businesses often begin their branding efforts on social media as well.
Branding on social media involves showing users why you matter. It’s about creating a great experience for the users who interact with you and showing them what they can expect from you if they become a paying customer. In addition, social branding is about driving loyalty from current customers — reminding them of why they chose you over a competitor and why they should continue to patronize you.
What Is Digital Branding?
Digital branding has the same aim as social branding — it just involves many more channels. Social branding is just one facet of digital marketing; the following are some of the other main ones.
Your website is one of the most important elements of your digital branding strategy. It is just as important that you have a website as a social media presence.
Whereas social media allows you to have direct interactions with users, your website is your place to fully express your brand. You have the freedom to do whatever you want on a website, whereas you are restricted by set parameters on social media. Beyond giving you more control of the visual design, this enables you to have direct influence over the user experience — which is central to branding.
In terms of branding, think of content as being separate to your website, even though there is some overlap. You should be creating content for your own blog and perhaps as a guest blogger as well. Of course, the main purpose of these activities is SEO, but they should also be a key aspect of your branding strategy.
If your business is still relatively unknown, you’ll find online ads hugely beneficial for exposure. It’s critical to use the opportunity to present your brand in the light you want, as your ads will form first impressions for many people.Also make sure you follow through with a branded landing page that continues to shape users’ opinions of your brand.
Through email newsletters, you can stay in contact with leads and customers. As well as serving as a regular reminder of your brand, newsletters give you the chance to speak in your voice.
Importance of Social and Digital Branding for Your Business
Digital branding has a critical role to play, no matter how you use it. In fact, if you’re a newcomer in a competitive field, branding will be key to helping you stand out.
See Higher Sales
Ultimately, the aim of any business is to see more sales and higher value sales. Branding allows you to achieve both. Increased sales are due to the fact that more people are aware of your offerings and see that you are a brand they can trust. Higher value sales happen when your branding creates loyal customers — which leads us to the next point.
Connect with Your Customers
Effective branding creates a deeper connection with your customers. Users feel that they know who you are and feel that you want the best for them. Posting behind-the-scenes pictures, sharing real-life stories, and having two-way conversations with users all lead to stronger relationships.
Customers Will Spread the Word
In the best case scenario, branding will lead customers to feel passionate about your company. This makes them more likely to recommend you to friends and family members. Recommendations carry greater weight than if a user simply discovers your brand and they can mean leads require minimal nurturing before they convert to customers.
Digital Branding Best Practices
There are various types of branding. It’s worthwhile using several to create a well-rounded strategy. Whichever you choose, though, there are some best practices to keep in mind.
Develop a Style
A common misconception is that branding is synonymous with visual elements — for instance, your logo, font, and color scheme. In fact, the visual side of your image is just one element of branding, albeit an essential one. Designing a logo should be one of the first things you do when launching your brand. As this will involve choosing some colors, you can use it as a basis for developing your overall color scheme.
Choose the Right Tone
Another key feature of branding is the tone you use to address your audience. Options include professional, humorous, informal, empowering, educational, friendly — the list goes on. Writing some words that describe your brand can help you arrive at the right tone for you. In addition, looking at examples of other brands’ tone of voice may help you find inspiration for your own.
Understand Your Audience
You may have some idea about how you would like to brand your business. However, for the best results, you need to know what will resonate with your audience, rather than just thinking about your own personal preferences. For instance, choosing colors that evoke the wrong emotions, using too much jargon in your content, or making prospects feel like you’re talking down to them can all mean users feel that your offerings are aimed at someone other than them.
Social Branding Best Practices
Although social branding is essentially just one part of digital branding, it’s worth looking at some specific best practices, simply because social branding is such a critical aspect.
Focus on the Words You Choose
As we’ve already mentioned, you have less flexibility on social media than on some other channels. This means words are extra important. From your posts to the “about” fields on your profile, make sure you clearly explain what your brand stands for and what you have to offer in the tone of voice you’ve chosen.
Use Attractive Visuals
Users spend much of their time on social media skimming past posts — they only stop when something catches their eye. It’s true that emotive words can do the trick, but visuals tend to be far more effective: posts with visuals receive 2.3 times the engagement of those with just words.
You can fit a huge amount of information into just a simple visual. In addition to using professional photography to express the quality of your brand, think about what message your images are portraying. Everything from the layout and light to how sparse or cluttered an image is has something to say about your brand.
Go Beyond Self-Promotion
Not only is pure self-promotion a poor marketing tactic, it sends a strong message about your brand that is likely not your intention: that you’re interested in making sales and nothing more. If you follow any business accounts on social media, you’ll know how common this tactic is — and you’ll also know how uninteresting it is to see countless posts about the same products or services in your feed.
You need to strike a balance between promotion and content that engages your audience. Brand your business to show that you care about your customers and want to educate, entertain, or inform them. This is the kind of branding that will help establish you as a leader in your niche.
To be successful in social and digital branding, it’s necessary to be consistent across all channels. You may be reaching a slightly different audience in each channel, but your image, tone of voice, and message needs to be the same everywhere. This will show users that you are credible and will help you become memorable in the eyes of your customers and prospects.