When you see that familiar red-and-white sign on a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, you can almost smell the gravy and feel the crispiness of the chicken, especially if you're hungry and haven't eaten yet. How is it possible that your brain retrieves these thoughts and sensory experiences at the mere sight of a logo?
That's the power of brand marketing, and you can use it to your advantage every bit as much as The Colonel, if you just know how to leverage it with your social media presence.
Social media has drastically reduced the cost of brand marketing. It used to be that paying a graphic artist to design a logo was just the beginning of your marketing costs. After you had the logo, you had to figure out how to print it: on t-shirts, on mugs, on flyers and brochures. Then you had to come up with a distribution plan. This method of brand marketing was expensive, but it got your brand out there where your potential customers could begin to make associations between your brand and the qualities you champion (irresistible gravy and crispy chicken, in the case of KFC).
But today, you don't have to bother with t-shirts and flyers and mugs if you don't want to. You can let loose your brand identity on the digital world simply by using social media. And, if you use social media wisely, your company and your brand will begin to develop a reputation. People will associate them with a set of qualities, skills, and traits.
Maybe your brand represents excellent customer service. Maybe it represents cutting-edge innovation. Whatever it is, you can have your customers salivating for it when they see your logo, just like you salivate for a hot and crispy chicken wing when you see the red-and-white Colonel Sanders.
Here's what you need to do if you want your brand marketing to really work for you. Remember, it's all in the content. Your content is what speaks for you.
1. Message. What is it you want people to associate with your brand? If you want people to look at your brand and think about interesting podcasts, don't tweet about your cat's hysterical antics. Colonel Sanders doesn't throw out messages about burritos or crepes every now and then just because he thinks they're yummy, too. Keep your message focused, and resist the urge to embrace variety. That's what your personal blog is for.
2. Voice. What's the voice of your brand? Is it folksy like Trader Joe's? Is it fun like Skittles? Is it sleek and sophisticated like Audi? Think carefully about your brand's voice because your voice should reflect the values, products, and services you offer. When you decide what kind of voice best suits your brand, use it in all of your social media marketing. Whether you're sending out a 25-character tweet or an 800-word blog post, keep your voice intact. If several different people handle your brand marketing, make sure they all adopt the correct voice while representing your company.
3. Authority. No matter what kind of voice your use in your brand marketing or what kind of message you're conveying, come across as an authority. People want to follow authorities on social media, sources they can trust to help them. How do you come across as an authority in your field, especially when you're a relative newcomer? Here are a few things you can do.
- Announce industry news. Set your news feeds to include stories about your industry. When you come across an interesting news tidbit, broadcast it to your followers in your brand-appropriate voice.
- Relate anecdotes. When you share funny and helpful anecdotes for your personal experiences within your industry, your followers see that you're actively involved in the business. You're not just playing. This isn't a hobby.
- Share testimonials. "Thanks, @customer, for sharing: 'Couldn't be happier with the catering for daughter's wedding. Absolutely perfect.'" Who wouldn't see you as an authority when you share testimonials like this one?
Brand marketing has the potential to launch your business into the stratosphere--at virtually no cost--if you use it well. By staying true to the core message you wish to convey, using a voice that reflects your services and products, and adopting a tone of authority, you can become a social media influence that attracts the notice of potential customers, powerful industry contacts, and future employees. Use this power; it's within your grasp.