Branding Series Edition 1: Your Social Presence
In addition to being a lifestyle blogger, I'm also a branding, social media, and content strategist and was formerly a fashion marketing executive. I'm often asked about my branding "hacks" so decided to launch a series where I share a variety of tips for building a strong personal and/or business brand.
In this post I'm sharing tips on growing a strong social following. Here is the 6-step high-level process I used to build my own social community to about 75,000 followers across 3 platforms in less than 6 months. I've also used this framework for over a dozen iconic consumer brands as well as startups I've worked for, advised, or partnered with over the years.
Step 1: Establish a brand identity
Regardless if you are an individual or business, if you are serious about establishing a strong social presence you have to know who you are, what you stand for, and what you want to convey to the public. This is core to a focused and consistent social media presence.
On a high level a brand identity consists of what I call the "4 Vs" framework:
- Vision — who are you, what do you stand for for, what do you aspire to achieve (i.e. purpose), and who do you want to target?
- Value — what's unique about you and what value can you add to your target audience such that they would want to follow and support you?
- Voice — how will you communicate via social i.e. what will you say and how will you say it such that it engages, inspires, motivates, influences, persuades, and establishes trust with your target audience?
- Visuals — what visible elements of your personal or business brand will you use to establish a distinct visual identity and be distinguishable, recognizable, and relatable to your target audience?
Step 2: Create a content strategy
With your brand identity in place you can then translate it to a strong content plan:
- Content Creation — Determine the type of content you want to (and can consistently) create or curate.
- Social Channels — Select the best outlets to use in distributing your content. Stay focused and start with only one or two that are best suited.
- Content Calendar — Be organized by creating a monthly calendar to map out what you will post and when you will post it. Starting off prioritizing quality over quantity.
Step 3: Develop a promotional plan
- Use Hashtags — an easy and effective way to be discovered by your target audience is to leverage relevanthashtags.
- Cross promote — if you have a website or other digital presence be sure to promote your social channels on it.
- Outreach to influencers — identify individuals in your category with a strong presence who may be interested in collaborating with you. Be sure to approach them with a thoughtful proposal that benefits them.
- Consider social ads — these days fast organic growth can be difficult to achieve depending on the social channel you are on. Think about amplifying your content with paid ads (particularly if you are a business).
- Think of creative campaigns — whether it’s a giveaway or interview series, you want to generate interesting ideas that get people excited about following and engaging with you.
Step 4: Engage with your community
Social communties aren’t designed to be one-sided. Don’t just post your stuff without engaging with your followers as well with others who are in your category.
Respond to comments, follow/like other people, get involved in existing discussions, and actively seek out opportunities to support others.
Step 5: Track your performance
You can use a variety of social analytical tools to monitor your progress. Here are the core metrics to watch:
- Growth — Though not the most important metric you should keep an eye on how your community is growing over time. If stagnant rethink whether you are targeting the right audience.
- Engagement — Monitor how engaged your audience is in terms of likes, comments, shares, etc. This is a strong indicator of whether your content is resonating.
- Traffic — If your goal is to build awareness of a product, service, or blog then you will want to determine whether your community is compelled enough to investigate your offerings by visiting your site to learn more.
Step 6: Test & Learn
Overall, social media trends and platforms are evolving rapidly and becoming critical (if not the most important) tools in the marketing line up.
The best way to succeed is to make it core to your personal or business marketing efforts and adopt an agile and open mindset. You should constantly be thinking about what works, what doesn’t, and how you can learn and improve.
If you are an individual or business trying to set up a social presence in lifestyle, design, fashion, luxury (or a similar space) I'd be happy to chat more with you 1:1. You can reach me here.