How to Elevate A Branded Social Media Presence
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Social media is undeniably an integral channel for communication. Whether it’s for personal use or business, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide a valuable avenue for connecting with valued stakeholders. However, social media is a two-way street: organizations who aren’t on social media are not only missing out on an opportunity to connect with their audience, but they’ve also removed a way for their audience to engage with them.
Most businesses recognize – even at the lowest level – the potential of social media. While posting occasionally on Facebook or creating a corporate LinkedIn profile is a start, it is a far cry from maximizing a brand’s capacity to engage with their audience. So how can a brand elevate its social media presence?
Messaging and Brand Identity
Elevating a brand’s social media presence starts with having a strong brand identity. Brand identity is the visual element of a brand — such as the color palette, logo, and design direction — that distinguish it in a consumer’s mind.
Scrolling through their feed, a consumer should be able to identify the brand at a glance. Or at least, if they are scrolling through the brand’s page, every asset should look like it belongs to the same identity.
An identity, however, is not just the brand look. Part of creating a strong presence is crafting the tone and voice of the brand. Just as with the visual assets, the message delivered across all channels should have a consistent tone. To develop messaging guidelines, it helps to have target audiences identified. Think of a brand as a personality engaging with those audiences and the communication style can stem from there.
Audit Existing Channels
Once the foundation of the brand is established, audit all current social media presence. Are the handles (@business) consistent? Is the logo cropped correctly for the profile image? When was the cover photo last updated? Most importantly: is this channel appropriate for reaching the desired audience?
Here are some of the core social media platforms and the associated demographics:
Having a Facebook page is a must. Facebook has the most diverse range of demographics and the widest reach of all social platforms. There are over 2.3 billion users who are active every month on Facebook and 500,000 users are added every day. Sixty-eight percent of adults use Facebook and have several sessions per day. Fourty-nine percent of users like Facebook pages of brands that they want to support. (Source)
Of all internet users:
- 83 percent of women and 75 percent of men use Facebook
- 88 percent of online users between the ages of 18 to 29 are on Facebook
- 84 percent of online users between the age of 30 to 49 are on Facebook
- 82 percent of college graduates use Facebook
- 72 percent with an income greater than $75,000 use Facebook
Twitter has 330 million active monthly users, although 500 million people visit the platform each month without logging in. Eighty-three percent of the world’s leaders are on Twitter and 25 percent of verified accounts are journalists, highlighting Twitter’s role in news and real-time engagement. Brands using Twitter are more likely to be regarded positively after an interaction on the platform.
- 80 percent of Twitter users are affluent millennials
- 24 percent of all men on the entire internet use Twitter
- 37 percent of Twitter users are between the ages of 18 and 29
- 25 percent of Twitter users are 30 to 49
- 56 percent of internet users who make $50k or more are on Twitter
LinkedIn is more geared toward the working professional and has over 500 million members that continues to grow each year. Forty percent of their active users log in daily searching for content relevant to their professional goals.
- 70 percent of LinkedIn users are outside of the U.S.
- 63 million are in decision-making positions
- 57 percent of LinkedIn users are male; 43 percent are female
- 25 percent of millennials use LinkedIn
- 49 percent of LinkedIn users earn more than 75k a year
Instagram is a Facebook-owned, photo sharing app that has grown exponentially since its founding in 2010. The platform skews a bit younger but can boast 1 billion active monthly users.
- 35 percent of all US adults are on Instagram
- 72 percent of user are between the ages of 13 – 17
- 64 percent of users are 18 – 29 years old
- 80 percent of Instagram users reside outside of the US
There are, of course, other social media channels such as YouTube, Reddit, TikTok, Snapchat and many others, and there is certainly an overlap in audience use. Claiming a branded profile is always a good option, even if you decide not to be active. If that’s the case though, include a link in the bio for the channels where the brand does have an active presence.
Creating social media channels are also good for search engine optimization and marketing (SEO/SEM). To elevate the social following, make sure the content posted is in line with the keyword strategy that spans advertising and organic efforts. We also recommend not posting the same thing on every platform. What’s the point of following you on Facebook if you post the exact same thing on Twitter? Plus, the audience on Twitter may not care about a company outing while the audience on Facebook may love that personal touch.
Keeping track of everything can be difficult. Build out an editorial calendar to track campaigns and ensure that social media is boosting other PR and marketing efforts. There are a lot of tools out there for organizing content and creating calendars. At the end of the day, find what works best for the team managing it.
In addition to brand channels, identify influencers within the organization and develop a posting cadence for them. It doesn’t have to be just the CEO who speaks about the company and its priorities. Partner with people in the organization who want to build out their personal brand to become additional spokespeople. They may be able to write opinion pieces or take a stronger stance on issues that the larger organization may want to avoid commenting on. Organize their contributions and engagements within the overall social strategy.
At the end of the day, social media is a tool for connecting with others. The way people use it will continue to fluctuate, the capabilities of the platform will change, and new channels may be developed. Monitor these changes, stay true to the brand identity, and engage authentically to keep a branded social media presence strong.