Brand awareness is not a one-time event. This is why marketers refer to building brand awareness, rather than simply creating brand awareness. Brand awareness is constant progress and is never truly finished.
It is described as the degree of consumer recognition between a product and the business, and that this can always be optimized over time. However, brand awareness does more than to inform the market that “your name is X and you sell Y”.
Brand awareness, especially through constant work to optimize it, fosters trust. It creates brand associations into everyday life and language – thinks of “googling” as a verb that refers to the act of researching on the Internet. It also builds brand equity, which allows for high pricing based on perceived value – think of famous clothing brands that seem to overprice T-shirts, yet people buy them for the social status they bring.
How social media can help brand awareness
Thanks to social media, marketing without hard-selling advertising are now possible. You can attract potential buyers with inbound content marketing, and rely on follower building to create a sustainable community that talks about your brand consistently.
The social media strategy that we’ll share with you is not just a three-step checklist. It is a cycle that self-optimizes if you pay close attention to the process. Note that this strategy is useful for both organic and paid social media management.
The three-stage cycle is audience research, content creation, and engagement.
1. Audience research
Before starting out on social media marketing, your business may have been running for some time. This gives you an insight into who your actual customers are and the kind of content they would love to see.
If you’re planning to expand your business, another round of audience research doesn’t hurt. Perhaps in a new location, you will access a different segment of your target market.
What to do when two segments collide?
The worst case scenario is that you’ll need to choose between which audience segment you will need to satisfy with your social media content.
However, this only happens if you only have one channel, which limits your branding into a one-message-fits-all campaign. That wouldn’t work effectively in today’s marketing, so personalization is more important than ever.
The solution: using multiple channels.
You can create different content on various channels, depending on which platform is more popular for a particular segment. That way you can use different messaging tactics that satisfy different segments (on their own platform), and in effect, you customize your branding message.
For example, demographics data from your existing followers suggests that 60% of your Facebook audience is female within the age range of 30 - 40 years, while on Instagram, 55% is male aged between 20 and 30 years.
You can post content that targets these specific groups, and in fact, this personalization strategy is highly appreciated by your audience. Posting the same content across your network is discouraged because each user in each platform behaves differently.
Think of your friends who use Twitter more than Facebook, and ask yourself, what is their posting habit? What content do they expect?
Go beyond demographics
Your business may be local, but if you’re sitting on tourism gold mine, it’s best to reach audiences beyond location (and even age and gender) to attract international audiences.
The problem with focusing too much on demographics is that it only helps to categorize your audiences based on superficial (and sometimes stereotypical) qualities.
What you should focus on is psychographics. In essence, It tells you about your audience’s interests, concerns, fears and shopping habits. Psychographics offer you with fewer guesswork about the thoughts and beliefs that your audience and buyers hold.
To craft engaging and emotional content, you need to get inside their heads!
2. Content creation for brand awareness
For all inbound marketing purposes, content functions to provide value first. Whether to entertain or inform your followers with the latest updates, you are servicing your followers by being a leader.
Becoming a thought leader to your followers
A thought leader is someone (or a business entity), to whom people look up to for credible knowledge sources. Think of news stations that you trust. You tune into these news stations because you expect high-quality content (news), that are relevant, accurate, and timely – and they deliver.
Trusted news stations have spent years honing their credibility as well as their accountability for the news that they release. You can adopt the broadcasters’ mindset and their good practices for your social media management.
Let’s say you own a coffee shop, and you want to be a thought leader on social media to boost your brand awareness to the next level. Here are some things you may need to do:
- Get to know your product (e.g. blends from various regions)
- Get to know what’s trending in your industry (e.g. cold brew and syphon brewing)
- Get to know your buyers (e.g. their daily habits that lead them to drinking coffee)
- Be relevant (e.g. greet the holiday season)
- Connect with other experts (e.g. baristas, cupping experts, Specialty Coffee Association)
What format to use
Different social media platforms have different trends and customs on what is considered acceptable to post.
For example, Instagram does not allow URL directs. You can post hashtags and mentions, but not links directed to a website or social media post outside of Instagram. However, it’s popular among new and established businesses for creative-rich promotions, especially because it’s optimized for image and video display on mobile.
Twitter has a 280-character limit as of 2020, so long-form captions are impossible to post. Twitter users have a unique culture, and the platform itself has gained a quirky reputation.
Facebook and LinkedIn give relatively more freedom and features, but they don’t have a clean design like Instagram. However, LinkedIn has a clean blogging platform, similar to Medium – and both are mobile-friendly. Both are ideal for long-form content that answers very specific questions.
Medium doesn’t have a built-in direct messaging app, and LinkedIn’s rigid following system makes it less likely to be used by casual shoppers (it is a social media platform for professionals, after all).
Learn not only about how to craft engaging content but also learn how to adapt it to its platform.
The major difference between TV and outdoor display ads is that social media gives users the ability to rate and comment on the content that they receive. Users have control over who to follow and tailor their content consumption to fit their interests.
This brings businesses and customers closer, by removing barriers of communication between them. Your audiences will expect you to interact with them whenever they mention your account or comment on your post.
Think about this case for a second: Have you ever posted a comment, asking an account a question, only to be ignored? How annoying (and rather embarrassing) would that be if you were the only commenter for that account which only has a few followers?
It would have been understandably difficult for an account to keep track of every comment and mentions in a busy post. But in an especially early stage of social media marketing, it’s crucial that you interact with every single comment and direct messages to you.
Digital PR and networking for brand awareness
Social media is also a great tool to reach key individuals that are not your buyers. Let’s return to the coffee shop example.
Connecting with other experts in the field (possibly even competitors) can be a strategic move. You may have heard about the term “influencer” on social media. Influencer marketing is one of the most common social media marketing tactics, especially for developing business.
Influencers are other thought leaders followed by another group of people. You can collaborate with influencers (e.g. entertaining coffee shop reviewers) to try your free samples and ask for their honest response. You can collaborate with content creators (photographers, freelance journalists, etc.) to post and talk about your business to their followers.
If you have a healthy community of followers (i.e. they interact with you and each other, post kind and supporting comments), it’s great to repost their content about your business, as a kind of testimonial.
Rinse and repeat
Engagement is not the final goal to create brand awareness. In fact, by actively engaging with your audiences, you will get to know more about them, as well as their values and beliefs.
Being receptive to your audience’s questions makes them feel special. Just like a radio host taking song requests from an ordinary person among thousands of listeners, you should also leverage your opportunity to interact with your audience.
About Island Media Management
We are an integrated digital marketing agency based in Jakarta and Bali. We assist in marketing through various channels such as social media advertising and organic social media management, website development, and SEO content development. Learn more about our services.