18 tips to help you grow your brand (and your sales) on social media

If you’re spending time on social media for your business you need to get it right. Here are 18 tips to help you grow your brand (and your sales) on social media.

Social media is taking an increasingly important place is business branding. It’s also offering small businesses an opportunity to build their brand and get it in front of the right audience, without the huge advertising budget businesses would have needed in the past.

Indeed, it’s so important that you can’t afford NOT to be on social media if you’re a small to medium sized business. However, if you want to take advantage of the benefits social media offer, and see a genuine return on your investment, you need to understand how to build your brand (and sales) on the platforms.

18 tips to help you grow your brand (and your sales) on social media

So, whether you’re starting out and need beginner’s advice, or have been on social media for a while and want to improve the results you’re getting, here are 18 tips to help you grow your brand (and your sales) on social media.

1) Choose your platforms carefully

Not all social media platforms will work for your brand, and you don’t have time to do them all properly. So choose your social media platforms carefully.

If your business is B2B, you might find LinkedIn or Twitter a good choice. Visual brands, and B2C businesses could work well on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook.

When researching which platform(s) to focus on, you need to learn where your ideal customer spends their time. If all your customers are on Facebook, for example, but you’re investing in building an Instagram following, you’ll struggle to convert your social media efforts into any meaningful sales.

2) Think about your images

When it comes to social media, a picture is often worth a thousand words. Indeed, a tweet is apparently 94% more likely to get retweeted if it contains a picture.

So choose your images wisely. Think about your brand. What do you want to convey? And what style of image works best for your business and audience? It’s important that your imagery is on-brand and consistent.

3) Create a colour palette

To help ensure your images and general branding has cohesion, and starts to become associated with your business, choose a colour palette. Use your brand colours for your logo, website, social profiles, marketing materials and imagery.

4) Be consistent in your logo design

Choose a logo – and stick to it. If your social platforms have an ever-evolving rotation of logos you won’t build brand equity. And instead of customers getting to recognise and look for your logo, they’ll scroll past your social posts without even realising. (You can learn how to design a logo with no design experience here.)

5) Plan a social media strategy

When you’re using social media for business you can’t simple post a stream-of consciousness rant. Or wake and post on a whim. Instead you need a posting strategy that’s based on a clear understanding of what your audience wants to see, and how you can best share what you offer with them.

You also need to tread a fine balance of genuinely useful and entertaining posts, and overt sales messages. Get the balance wrong and your marketing will either be so subtle no one even realises you’re selling anything, or so brazen you’ll put people off.

In order to ensure you get the right balance, you need a carefully planned social media strategy.

6) Design post templates

If you look at successful social media brands they often have a similar formula for their posts. So when you see a post you instantly know it’s from them.

To emulate this strategy, design post templates for each platform you’re on. The template can include a particular filter, similar messages for particular days of the week, and copy styling.

7) Create a distinct tone of voice

What does your brand sound like? Try reading some of your posts out loud. Do they sound like you envisage your business to sound?

Think about your brand values, and make are your tone of voice reflects them. For example, if you’re a financial advisor, your values may be reasonable, professional, trusted. But if you’re a children’s party entertainer your values may be fun, creative, energetic.

You can see from the two businesses above how different their social media posts would sound, if they were to reflect their brand values. And indeed, these two businesses shouldn’t sound the same.

If you had to pick three words to describe your brand values, what would they be? And how can you bring them to life in your tone of voice?

8) Showcase your company culture

Speaking of different brand values, don’t be afraid to showcase your company culture through your social media posts. Give people a real sense of what your business stands for. What it’s like inside your company. Allow them a peak behind the brand to see behind the scenes.

9) Create personas for your audience

The more you know about your audience, the easier you’ll find it to create social media content they’ll love and will engage with. So spend some time profiling your idea customer. We recommend creating personas for your key customer profiles.

10) Be authentic

It’s easy to get sucked into comparison on social media: your competitors are doing so much better than you; they have thousands more followers. Maybe if you tried emulating their style or posts you’d achieve similar success?

But beware falling into this trap. Your competitors’ approaches work because they’re appropriate for their brand and their customers. And you have no idea if they’re right for yours.

It’s much better to spend the time working on developing a strategy that works for your business and your customers, and being authentic to your brand. If you start to sound and look like a copycat or pale imitation of another brand, you’ll never establish a loyal following in your own right.

11) Be consistent in your posting

If you start posting daily on your social media platform, or get into the routine of sharing inspiring quotes every Monday, then you need to keep doing it.

Whatever posting rhythm you get into, your audience will come to expect and look for posts from you. This will help you to build engagement.

If you suddenly stop posting, or become randomly inconsistent, then people will lose interest and stop looking for your posts, or investing their attention and energy in engaging with them.

12) Connect with your competition

Don’t be afraid to follow and reach out to your competitors on social media. After all, you have plenty in common!

In our experience, if you approach business with an abundance mindset you’ll realise that there’s plenty of custom for you both.

Connecting up with other entrepreneurs in your industry can give you support, shared ideas and resources, and strength and support in numbers. ‘Competitor’ doesn’t have to equal ‘enemy’ in business – they can just as easily be your friend, and indeed your biggest cheerleader and ally.

13) Write your bio carefully

Often you only have room for a handful of words in your social media bio. But don’t let this brevity fool you into believing it doesn’t matter, or you don’t need to spend much time crafting it.

In marketing the rule is the shorter the copy, the longer you need to spend on it. Because every. Single. Word. Really. Counts.

So make sure your bio contains the information your followers need to read. It needs to tell people who don’t know your business what you do; who you help and how. And don’t forget to include contact details such as your website so they can find out more.

14) Remember to sell yourself

You shouldn’t see every single interaction on social media as an opportunity for a hard sell. But equally you need to remember why you’re on there: to promote your business and (ultimately) find new customers, grow your relationship with existing customers, and increase sales.

So don’t forget to sell what you do on there. When planning your strategy consider what kind of posts can best promote your offering, and how frequently you want to share them.

15) Check your analytics

Like any marketing activity, you need to test, measure and revise your social media strategy, to make sure you’re dong more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.

So check your analytics and insights regularly. This includes your social channel analytics, any campaign results, and your website traffic sources.

16) Know your ROI

All marketing strategies need to be measured by the return on investment (ROI) you get. Basically this means you need to understand how much money you’ll get back for the money and effort you put into a strategy.

So carefully record any time you spend on social media, and direct costs, such as scheduling tools, ad budget or outsourced help. Then set this against any profits you can attribute directly to your social media strategy.

17) Build good social karma

Social media is like any social community; it only works if people give and take, and help each other by way of following, engaging with and sharing other accounts and posts.

So if your strategy on social media is simply to post your own content and ignore everyone else, you’re not going to get much return for your effort (or lack of).

What you need to do is build good social media karma by following other accounts, and linking, commenting on, sharing and retweeting their posts. If you’re seen as a good community member who is helpful and proactive, you’ll soon start to feel the love in return.

18) Think about keywords

When applying an SEO strategy, you need to think beyond your website. You also need to bear in mind what words and long tail terms and questions people are searching for on social media too. So as well as writing SEO optimised content on your website, think SEO on your social channels too.

Justin Mark has been writing about digital marketing for several years. 

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