Establishing a business and developing a brand are two totally different things, most people mix these two up, but just because you have established a business does not necessarily mean that you have built a brand. A fundamental difference is in the fact that, most businesses have to look for consumers – while consumers look for brands.
For example, if you own a clothing store, you know that you have to find customers to sell your clothes to and be persuasive enough (You have got to convince your customers that whatever you are selling to them is made from the best fabric, the best stitches, etc) in your marketing endeavors to have to stand out from your competitors and make a sale. On the other hand, when a brand like Giorgio Armani release an apparel, people who can afford it go out and actively seek after the apparel and the brand has to spend minimal effort to make the sale and it is all because of the brand image that Giorgio Armani has developed over the years.
A brand refers to the image and “personality” a company applies to its products and developing a brand ultimately boils down to two significant points: Marketing and the quality of your product. While maintaining pristine quality for your products is very important for brand development, in the scope of this article, we are going to talk about the marketing aspect of brand development.
To develop a brand, you need to maintain channels of marketing where you can run promotional activities in a strategic way planned to cover a long duration of time with the primary goal of developing a consistent image for your brand that appeals to your target audience base better than your competitors.
In the 21st century, there are mainly two channels for brand development: the digital channel and the traditional channel. While brand development via traditional marketing channels have been difficult and expensive, the good news for you is that with the rise of technology, nowadays, it’s much easier to develop a consistent and good brand image for your business through digital media. While there are multiple channels in Digital Media, Social Media is one of its most important aspects. Social media has been a post-millennial concept for the most part, and within a very short time, it has acquired a large place in the lives of billions of people around the world, so much so that It has now become one of the most important marketing channels for companies and brands of all sizes and sectors throughout the world.
Different researches, the most notable ones belonging to the database company Statista, point to the fact that the region with the highest penetration rate of social networks is North America, where around 60 percent of the population has at least one social media account. As of 2016, 78 percent of the population of the United States had a social networking profile. As a businessmen/ an entrepreneur, these numbers should point out towards the incredible marketing and brand development opportunities that social media has in store.
Choosing a Suitable Social Media Network That Suits Your Brand
There are literally hundreds of social media websites out there, but most of them are not worth your time and energy. So sort out from the most popular ones and choose one or two to build your brand in, don’t go for all of them at a go because odds are you won’t be doing a very good job with any of them.
The most popular North American social media websites are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, Pinterest and LinkedIn; you would be well advice to pick out your preferred channel from these.
Facebook: Almost 70% of the North American population maintain their Facebook accounts actively; it’s actually an excellent marketing medium for virtually any products since it has a very heterogeneous and versatile user base coming from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures.
Google+: Although it’s not as popular as Facebook or Twitter, it’s still a very good medium to promote businesses which has a mostly male gendered target audience. Even better if you need to promote products required by people in the tech industry.
Instagram: Is your business all about how good your product looks? Are you in the clothing, jewelry or handicraft market? If so, then this is the perfect medium for you.
Pinterest: Excellent for reaching out to a female target audience base. Best medium for you if your business is primarily female-centric.
LinkedIn: Operating a B2B company? Then, this is the best social media for brand development. Aside from that, it will also be very useful when you are looking to hire employees.
Once you have got a social media account up and running, you need to gain followers which is the most integral part of brand development via social media. Now, it’s important to remember that while social media can be a great place to promote your products, you need to do a lot more to gain traction while developing your brand. Every single piece of content you share should support your brand image.
If you can use memes effectively, they can be powerful brand-building tools, but while humor can elevate your brand image, don’t share memes until and unless you are absolutely sure that they won’t give out a cheap message to your followers. Alongside, using visual contents are also helpful since visual contents are more likely to gain more views. Moreover, a visual content that can invoke emotions in your followers can be very powerful.
Another great way to make good content can be by keeping up with the trend and making content that catches up with current trends. One of the easiest ways to create content for deployment on social media profiles that’ll support your brand development efforts is to see what types of posts others have been successful with and improvising well to put together your own, better versions.
If you are a relatively new brand, it might be hard to gain traction using social media for your brand development efforts. In such cases, the quickest thing that you can do to gain attention on social media is to use influencers who are already established in your industry and use them to speak for your products through social media. To do this, you need to connect with influencers through social media, you can follow them and engage with their contents, use their quotations/references in your content and mail them or let them know via social media that you have used their names in your content. You can also tag them in different contents you have published in their references. The goal from all this is to get the influencers to share your posts. It might take some time to build the right kind of relationship with an influencer, but once you can achieve that, that alone can shoot you above your competitors.
You might be enticed to promote your products, offers or discounts via social media advertisements and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, make sure that you have a professional graphic design agency / graphic designer to design your posts since it’s incredibly important that you have great designs that speak to your target audience base when you actively engage in social media advertisements. Also, it is very important that you maintain a consistent color code and design when you go for social media advertisements so that people can relate your brand to the images that they see. It’s a very good method for brand development.