By Katie Mientka

Can social media build your brand? That’s a definite maybe! Yes, social media can help you achieve key goals, but with a crowded, competitive landscape, you need to do more than pop up on Facebook or Instagram now and then. A targeted, strategic approach is a must for businesses looking to reach out, connect, and build a brand that resonates with prospects and customers.

Where Are Your Customers?

Odds are excellent they’re on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or another site: 70% of Americans use social media.

At the same time, over 50 million small businesses use social media to reach their customers. There is intense competition for the attention of your target audience. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality does not work. A profile is not enough; even a great profile is not enough.

To leverage the potential of social media in terms of building your brand:

1. Manage Your Expectations

Ultimately, your goal is sales; you can’t run a business if no one is buying. But the route to conversion is complex, and while social does play an important role, the average conversion rate is 0.71% — compared to 1.95 for search and 3.19 for email. The good news is that social media is the number one driver of referral traffic to websites, outperforming even Google.

What does this mean for your social media strategy? If you’re hoping to boost sales by 50% with a few Facebook posts, you’re going to be disappointed. These networks lend themselves to connections and community: when you engage, you can drive interested, engaged prospects to your website. And from there, you can work your conversion magic. Rather than a be-all-end-all sales tool, social media is one component of an overall approach.

2. Ditch the Pitch

If the point of social is to drive traffic and engage, don’t rely on traditional sales tactics. Bottom line: consumers don’t want to be sold to. But they do like to buy – from those with whom they have a connection, those they trust. Authentic interactions are key, as is telling your story of expertise.

We are hardwired for story, and our brains forge intense connections with characters with whom we relate. When telling your story, focus on the customer. What can you do for them? What problems can you solve, what needs can you address, what dreams can you help realize?

G&G Custom Homes does this well on their Facebook page:

It’s not about how great G&G is (though they really are!); it’s about the customers’ needs and, in this case, solving key pain points.

So tell your story: just make sure that your target customer is the protagonist.

3. Consistency Counts

Pretend your brand is a person. What type of language does that person use? Are they formal? Do they speak in technical terms and acronyms (which may be the case for niche or business-to-business brands)? Do they use slang or take an informal approach?

How about their tone? Are they serious and straightforward? Witty and irreverent? What type of style do they have? Are they conservative? Bold? Eclectic? Classic?

When it comes to your brand, keeping these elements consistent is essential. Your tone and language on Facebook or Instagram should align with your tone and language on your website. Your “appearance” (e.g. color palette, fonts, graphics, messaging, etc.) should also remain consistent across platforms. Why?

Because you need to build trust and connection with your audience: they need to know what to expect when they interact with your brand – no matter where they bump into you.

4. Be You

Your brand has a personality. Leverage that to engage your audience and build trust. The simplest way to do this is to talk like a real live human being. If there’s one thing consumers hate as much as sales pitches, it’s corporate-speak.

Again, if your brand is a person, how would that person speak? If it’s appropriate, use humor, use colloquialisms, use regional terms. If it’s “you,” make puns. If your brand is leading edge, focus on possibility and excitement. If your brand is more serious, emphasize stability. Just be you.

5. Deliver Value – and Authenticity

Do you have a tip to help your audience complete a home improvement task? A testimonial or photo of a completed project so they have social proof of your results? A success story to make people smile? An article on an important industry topic? A giveaway, sale, or new product/service to announce? Great: post away. If you don’t… don’t!

If you don’t have anything valuable to say, don’t say anything at all. Every social message should be meaningful. The top reasons people unfollow and unlike brands is that they post too frequently and the content is irrelevant and/or boring.

A great way to liven your posts up and build a strong brand: visuals. Photos and videos, for example, offer great “proof” of your work and they’re engaging. Skip the stock images and highlight your own homes, products, services, teams, and customers.

Building Your Brand with Social Media

So, yes, social media can help build your brand – if you take a strategic approach that emphasizes connection, consistency, authenticity, and value. This can be a perfect medium through which to tell your story of expertise. Are you ready?

Haven is here to take the guesswork and frustration out of your marketing efforts: connect to let us know how we can help.