7 Golden Rules of Social Media BrandingWhen it comes to branding you want your business to have maximum exposure online and social media is a tool that every business can use to do that. Over time and with a committed effort to market your brand using social media, you will reap the benefits that come with being recognized for your brand.

Once a social media account is created it is not enough to just have a nice image with a few posts and tweets. Think of each piece of content as part of the whole branding building block, designed to project a unique image for your company. They key is to be consistent with posting each day, and create memorable content that will stay in the minds of your audience.

Here are the seven rules for kick butt social media branding:

1.) Keep a consistent pattern

The first step to developing a winning branding strategy on social media is to stay focused on the image of your business. This includes the design and logos used on all online platforms, along with posting content on a regular schedule that best represents your brand. Take advantage of free services like Buffer and Hootsuite when managing your content each day. And remember that the name of your brand needs to be the same or similar on all networks to make it easy to recognize your business.

2.) Make your brand’s voice unique

While it is important to have a logo and mission statement, it is the culture of your brand that will stand out. Decide on what the unique voice is for your business and build from that on social media. Create a tone and stay with that when creating posts and tweets whether you are doing this yourself or hiring a social media manager. Keep your online communication positive, and remember that social media has now become a customer service tool that can be used to build trust with your audience.

3.) Determine who your target audience is

Know the needs of your community when creating social media content. Focus on who is in your niche and offer information that those followers want and need. Word-of-mouth is still at the top of the list for marketing, and connecting with the right people creates powerful brand ambassadors. Easy ways to learn about your social media fans and followers is to conduct surveys, ask questions, study customer service concerns, and research the competition. There are certain social media platforms that will work better for your brand depending on who your target audience is.  Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Instagram are the largest platforms, but don’t forget about taking advantage of video marketing on YouTube, Vimeo, and even Snapchat. Knowing your audience’s favorite watering hole – where they gather the most – will help your brand focused on the best social networks to engage on.

4.) Create a great impression

Having a website is not enough these days when people are finding the right business to deal with. In the ever changing online landscape, social media has become the testing ground for feedback and first impressions. Always communicate in a professional manner, and check in frequently for any customer service issues that might need to be addressed. Your business can benefit from encouraging reviews as well as having a well-rounded image across the board online. An inactive social network with very little or no images and content can paint a negative picture of your brand, even if you have been in business for years. Create a brand image that is high quality, and represents your company in a way that is easy to recognize.

5.) Know what to share on social media

Decide ahead of time the type of posts and tweets that will be going out from your brand, and know which ones are not appropriate for your business. While it’s good to show images and the human side of your company, it’s also important to project an image that fits your business.  One way to build engagement is to ask questions of your audience, share useful information, inspire others with quotes and images, share videos that are fun and informative, and setting your blog to post automatically to your social networks. Remember that social media is not a place to directly sell products and services, and should not be used to handle disputes with customers.

6.) Build trust with customer and leads

Loyalty and support is like gold to your community. The key is not to approach them as a marketer, but rather as a relationship builder. A trusted brand creates word-of-mouth, and shows people that your company is the real deal. Find creative ways to add value to your audience, and meet the needs of both your current customers and potential leads. Social media is a place to share tips, useful information, answer questions, give away free products and services, and keeping the lines of communication open and friendly.

7.) Set goals and measure your progress

Once you have established a community on social media your brand will need to set specific goals and measurements to follow.  In order to track your progress you will want to conduct a search for your business to learn how effective your brand reach is. Find out what’s working and change the strategies that are not performing well. Be sure to address and respond to any complaints, and pay special attention to social media engagement, which will later translate into sales. A great place to start is with Google Analytics which will show you how much traffic is coming from which social media platform.  Hootsuite can also provide a way to analyze your individual social networks. Keep tweaking your social media marketing until you find the ‘sweet spot,’ of when to post, what content works the best, and the top social networks your audience is engaging on with your brand.

Each brand is unique when it comes to creating a social media strategy. Always be flexible and open to change testing your results and modifying your strategy. Marketing online is a daily process of building your community, and it is important to remember not to give up just because there might be a dull spot in the midst of your social media marketing. Keep going and keep growing!

Read more: Tactics For Building A Brand Using Social Media