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Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Branding

Want to learn how to use social media for branding your business? We’re sharing all the valuable insights and actionable tips you need!

Social media design
February 5, 2024
9
min

Table of Contents

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If you’re not working on your social media branding, you’re missing out. This is the place to connect with your target audience and build lasting relationships that will help your business thrive for years to come. Keep reading to learn how to build a brand on social media, step-by-step.

Over half of the world’s population is on social media. Over 91% of marketers use social media, while 96% of small business owners use it to promote their business.

But changing your profile picture to the brand’s logo is not enough. Learn why social media branding is important, and how to build a brand on social media.

Why is social media branding important?

There’s nothing easier than setting up a business social media account. But if that’s all you’re prepared to do, your brand will stay invisible on social platforms.

Many businesses that consider their primary revenue to come from other channels (e.g. website and SEO, word of mouth for local businesses, ) fail to understand just how beneficial branding on social media is for virtually any business.

Here are just a few reasons why creating a social media branding strategy can help you.

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  1. Increased brand awareness: A strong social media brand can help businesses to increase their visibility and reach a wider audience. By consistently sharing branded content, businesses can build brand recognition and familiarity among their followers and fans.
  2. Building customer loyalty: Branding on social media can help businesses to create a unique voice and tone that resonates with their target audience. By engaging with customers through social media, businesses can build trust, loyalty, and long-term relationships.
  3. Boost sales: A strong social media brand can lead to increased sales and revenue. By creating a strong brand identity, businesses can differentiate themselves from their competitors, build customer trust and loyalty, and ultimately drive more sales.

Are you convinced? Then let’s see how to build a brand on social media, step-by-step.

How to brand on social media

Building a strong brand on social media requires a strategic approach that focuses on creating a consistent, authentic, and engaging brand identity across all social media platforms. Here are some key steps to building a successful social media brand.

Choose your platforms

The first step to understanding how to increase brand awareness on social media is deciding what are the best platforms to use. Spreading your time and resources thin on social media trends and platforms that won’t yield results is one of the biggest social media mistakes you can make.

Go back to your business plan and your buyer persona profiles. Based on their demographic, interests, and industries it should be fairly easy to pinpoint what platforms will be most useful.

Create a social media style guide

In marketing, brand guidelines allow you to keep all content for your brand consistent. The same goes for social media marketing.

In most cases, the general branding guidelines will also apply to social media (e.g. color palettes, fonts, logo use). However, a social media brand guide can also provide further guidelines on creating content, such as what types of content you use on each platform, what’s the tone of voice, and rules of interacting with your followers.

For example, a brand might use Facebook for big company announcements, and Instagram or X for casual interactions and funny content that boosts engagement. 

Not sure what to include in your social media brand guidelines? Here are some of the main points.

Marketing personas

Developing a social media strategy requires planning and research. Same as any marketing efforts plan, you need to understand who your target audience is, and how they use each social media platform.

Wendy’s is one of the most recognizable social media brands. Almost everyone knows about their Twitter roasts of competitors and even their own followers. The sassy tone of voice is geared towards a younger audience of digital natives that love to partake in the fun.

On the other hand, their Facebook account is purposefully geared towards an older demographic, both in content and style. They use dated-looking visuals, “accidental” all-caps writing, and misspelling of certain words to reflect their target demographic on Facebook (older people) and lovingly make fun of them just as they do with the famous Twitter roasts. 

Even their Twitter audience has noticed the unique style of their Facebook posts and, in line with their social media brand, Wendy’s didn’t shy away from responding.

Establish a style and tone of voice

If there’s one lesson on how to create brand awareness on social media you can learn from Wendy’s, it’s this. Your brand’s tone of voice is usually outlined in the brand guidelines, along with things like catchphrases, and specific terms you prefer to use.

Be mindful of the different target audiences on different social channels, and what they will respond to best. Also, consider the technical and statistical details about the length of your posts on each platform.

Here’s some data:

  • Facebook posts with 40-80 characters perform best.
  • LinkedIn favors longer posts, of around 100 characters.
  • Tweets mustn’t be longer than 280 characters, but the optimal length is between 70 and 100 characters.
  • Instagram posts ought to be up to 125 characters in length.

Develop a content strategy

There’s no way you can build strong social media brands without a long-term plan. A long-term content strategy is helpful for several reasons:

  • Regular posting increases your visibility (more posts = bigger reach).
  • Developing your tone of voice and creating a relationship with followers. Using social media for branding takes time. A content plan enables you to work towards that in the most effective way.
  • You won’t miss important dates/milestones.Imagine an environmental charity forgetting to mark Earth Day? Mark important dates and calendars so you can join in the social media conversations.
  • You will save time and resources. Planning ahead means you won’t get stuck on a last-minute piece of visual content, working for hours under stress.
  • It’s easier to measure results. An odd piece of content might bring a lot of engagement, but it won’t necessarily bring actionable insights you can use in the future.

Have consistent social media profiles

Cover the basics first. Using branded cover and profile images is the first step in building your social media brand.

Of course, it’s imperative to use images that scale for different formats found on different social channels. That’s why images without text often work best for cover photos, while your profile picture should always be your logo.

Here’s a good example from Slack. The abstract design of the cover photo is easily adapted for Twitter and Facebook. On the other hand, adding more background the Slack’s (relatively) round logo makes it work equally well in a round and circle form for profile pictures on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Extend your visual branding

So you have the profile photo and cover done. Now what?

Although there’s always room for creativity, branded social content is the only way to build a powerful brand on social media. First, you’ll need to develop an art direction for your social media. This entails translating your social media/marketing strategy into actionable design guidelines.

Then, relying on your content plan, you can create visuals and organize them for the best effect. Does this mean all of your content will look the same? Absolutely not. But it will be visually cohesive, and have the same type of messaging and feeling.

Shopify’s Instagram page is a terrific example. The ecommerce platform features really diverse content, from memes to actionable tips and fun facts (such as this mind-blowing video on the history of bubble wrap!).

Nevertheless, their Instagram profile has a very coherent look, as each post and video thumbnail is designed to fit the overarching theme. You’ll also notice the posts use their signature brand colors.

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Create a different account for products/areas (optional)

Depending on your industry and the size of your business, it may be worth creating separate social profiles for your best-known products, or different geographical areas that you do business in.

For example, Netflix has a separate Instagram profile for almost every film and TV show it launches (any Love is Blind fans out there?). It also has different country profiles, which makes it all the more enticing for people to actually follow and engage with their profiles since the content is in their native language.

Engage with your audience

Last, but certainly not least, boosting your brand on social media doesn’t end with a growing follower count. You need to keep people engaged and get them to interact with your posts regularly.

Here are some tips on how to increase social media engagement:

  • Create video content: Videos have a staggering 1200% more engagement and views than images and text combined. If you don’t like to be recorded, motion graphics and animated videos are a fantastic alternative.
  • Ask questions: Remember that, at its best, social media is about dialogue. Give your audience food for thought, or ask them for input and opinions on how you can improve, or what matters to them. Utilize interactive components such as Instagram story polls and quizzes.
  • Organize contests: Getting people to engage with you to win a prize is perfectly valid. Just ensure that the prize is close to your brand. Otherwise you may end up with engagement/attention that will diminish right after the contest.
  • Partner up: Collaborating with another brand gives both of you more visibility, allows you to tap into a new market, and engage more people on your socials.
  • Utilize user generated content. Free content that helps you connect with your target audience? What’s not to love! However, for UCG to be effective you need to have a consistent brand across the board. This way, social media users know what’s expected and are more likely to share their content with you.

Can we help you with branding on social media?

The best social media brands know their audiences, pick their channels, have a long-term content plan, and a cohesive visual brand identity.

You can always hire a social media agency to run your socials for you, but this comes with a hefty price tag.

If, however, you decide to do it yourself, there’s no need to do everything alone. You already have your hands full with SEO efforts and creating informative blog posts. On top of that, deciding what type of content to post on social media is really a full-time marketing job.

So, why not let someone else handle social media design?

The cost of social media design is unpredictable when working with freelancers, and extremely expensive with traditional design agencies. 

On the other hand, our unlimited design service allows you to get all your social graphics for an affordable monthly rate. Whether it’s a custom LinkedIn banner or thumbnails for your reels - we’ve got you covered!

Best of all, you’re not limited to social media design. Our comprehensive scope of services also covers web design, presentations, illustrations, and much more!

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.

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