By Rishi Mehra
Every business aspires to be a brand and for a small business, it comes with a specific set of challenge. If you have a differentiated product or service that is high on innovation, the path may be a tad easier, but in most other cases brand building takes effort. However, with several social media channels available today, it is possible for small businesses to create a name for itself. We list some key things to keep in mind while using social media to build a brand.
The image – If you are starting your business, it is the perfect time to think about the image you want your business to be associated with. Having a logo is very important and, perhaps the first step to creating a brand. Take for example, the likes of a Mercedes, Nike or even Tata, whose logo serves as a powerful tool for the brand. The logo serves as a perfect medium for a brand recall and one needs to think long and hard about what the logo should be. If you are serious about building a brand, design a logo that is relatable, different and something that has longevity.
What to use –When using social media to build a brand, a business has plenty of options. However, it is important to be selective and figure out what works the best. Every medium has its own pros and cons and it is important to weight them carefully. The type of audience you want to reach out is pivotal to making the decision. In some cases it would be easier to build a brand on Facebook, sometimes on Instagram. At other times you may want to use Twitter or LinkedIn. It is also important to understand that each market is different, which means something like a Pinterest and Tumblr may work great in the US, but may not be ideal for India.
Your communication – Once you have decided the medium or a combination of mediums, make sure your communication is consistent. This would mean if you are using, for example, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to build your brand, it should convey the same message. Your audience in each of the channels may be different and the style and approach for each post may be different, but the message and the meaning should be consistent.
Language and style – To ensure your communication is effective, it is important to ensure you have a good grip on the language. Poorly written social media post can be counterproductive and would do little to make or enhance your brand. Ensure there are no typos or grammatical errors in the post.
Using bot – Bots are in vogues these days, but you cannot build a brand by being mechanical with your replies. A bot can be useful in providing routine information, but is not suitable when the idea is to create a brand. A personal touch is needed and on social media, it is important to connect with your audience. Using wit, humour and empathy is only possible with a human being the social media posts.
Stories – Every post should not be on your product or service or promotional in nature. Weave stories that people can relate to. This can be success stories or stories around making an impact. In fact, a post may not be about something related to your business, but on a trending topic. In such cases stories that are not slanted and neutral in their tone can prove to be beneficial.
Sponsored posts –A sponsored post on any of the social media channels can also be helpful. However, it is important to make a difference between marketing and branding at this point. Sponsored post to increase sales is different from one to increase brand presence. Sponsored posts can be effective by ensuring that a larger section of the population knows about you and what you have to offer. It may not result in any tangible increase in sales or revenue, but can increase the brand recall.
Keep at it – Brand building is a long process and often takes year. On social media also it takes time and effort to build a brand. One has to assiduously keep at it and not look for overnight results.
(The writer is the CEO, Wishfin.com)