Building Your Social Media Brand

There’s so much to talk and learn about brand building that it’s one of our all-time favorite topics. On social media, particularly, new features and functionality come in so often, and you can leverage them in many ways to establish your brand. This week on the chat, we invited a #TwitterSmarter veteran and digital marketing strategist, Anh Nguyen to chat with us about what it means to build your social media brand, whether you’re a one-person business, part of a large company, or a personal social media user. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Anh Nguyen
Topic: Building your social media brand
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to join.

Q1: What is social media branding?

Social media branding is how you portray yourself or your business on social media. It’s a key part of your overall marketing strategy.

As Jeremy explained, your branding includes your tine, tagline, catchphrases, videos, and visuals. All of this together defines your brand.

Q2: What’s the difference between personal and professional brands?

A personal brand is an individual’s own branding—as we said earlier, this may be defined by their custom GIFs, tone of voice, and topics they specialize in.

A professional brand, on the other hand, is the brand of a business—which is marked by things like its logo, choice of colors and patterns in visuals, and mascots.

If you’re the owner of a company, you could have both a personal and professional brand. Your personal brand is, of course, you as a person, whereas your business’s brand will speak for itself.

Some business owners choose to have one brand for both their business and person—like our own Madalyn. As an individual business owner, her personal and professional brands are entwined—especially on social media. You get to see her business side, as well as her walks with her dog.

Our guest, however, separates her personal and professional brands. We all know her as Anh, but she is also behind the company’s handle, Amplified Marketing.

A word of caution, though. Not everyone needs to have separate personal and professional brands. It works well for our guest because her professional brand is so clearly different from herself. For many single-owner businesses, there’s little difference and trying too hard, as Jim pointed out, may backfire.

Q3: How important is branding for a business?

It’s everything for a business. As our guest put it, if you don’t define your brand, others will. That’s why it’s so important for a business to establish its own branding.

As our friend from Virtu Desk added, branding builds awareness for your business—it helps your audience distinguish you from your competitors.

Naturally, awareness also increases your value. The more unique and attention-grabbing your brand is, the more people will remember and recall your business. The more famed you are, the more share in the market you’ll own. Branding is the difference between a successful coffee roaster and a random coffee house.

Q4: What are some ways to showcase your brand on social media?

Focus on channels that your audience is most active on. When you consistently engage with them where they are, it’ll be easier for you to grow your community.

Share more of what your audience wants, not what you think they ought to know. It’s easy to get caught in self-promotion and forget to cater to an audience. Instead, share content that’s helpful to them, show your expertise on your subject, and curate content from others in that field. Put your audience’s needs before yours.

Another key point to remember when trying to establish your brand is to find ways to be engaging and memorable. As Madalyn suggested, make your brand fun. Make people want to engage with your content—if your audience is largely on Twitter, then use Twitter’s extensive features to showcase your brand—consider videos, audio tweets, Twitter Spaces, Lists, custom GIFs—all of these are great ways to impart your unique brand onto your audience. Take Christine, for instance. She uses GIFs, colors, and props to establish her brand strongly—now every time we see a red heart, we immediately think of Christine. That’s the power of effective branding.

Q5: Share some branding strategies you can implement on Twitter.

Twitter chats are a great way to brand yourself and your expertise. Join a chat on a topic that you’re passionate about or know well. It’s an effective way to share your thoughts, converse with others, broaden your reach, and your knowledge. When you become more confident, start your own chat and invite others to contribute.

Curating content is another powerful way to establish your brand. Share valuable thoughts and opinions from others in your industry—it’ll project you as someone who constantly refreshes their knowledge and learns from others. Add your own take on topics relating to your industry—that’ll help you distinguish yourself from other voices.

Consider posting content from your other channels. Customize them so they fit Twitter’s audience and share some of your more popular work from elsewhere to give it a rejuvenated growth.

Whatever you do, make sure you set time aside to engage with your target audience. Don’t automate responses, and instead be genuinely interested in conversing with them. As our friends from B3 Media Solutions reminded us, the more transparent you are, the more loyal your community will be to your brand.

As always, remember that each social channel is different in many ways. What works on one platform may not necessarily work on another—experiment extensively to find out what works for you, and then form your strategy around it.

Q6: What’s the role of community in brand building?

Community is the soul of your brand. Nurturing your community increases your credibility, awareness, and loyalty—all the things a business needs to thrive.

Treat your community as such—they’re not mere “followers.” A community is people who care about you and want to see you do well. They’re your cheerleaders and ambassadors and will be your loyal companions when times are tough.

As Jim pointed out, building relationships with those in your community will help you grow your business. Those who love doing business with you will tell their friends and family—that word-of-mouth is invaluable to a business.

Q7: How do you go about establishing your brand?

Firstly, you should know what your brand is and how you want to project it. If you show even the tiniest sign of doubt, it’ll translate to your community. You want your loyal community to be able to tell their friends who you are and what you do—exactly as you want them to.

Start with what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. What is it that your business does better than the next business?

Once you’ve nailed the philosophical questions, get more specific, as Amal suggested. Set goals for your social activities, identify where your ideal audience hangs out and what makes them tick, and then build your logo, tagline, and core messaging.

Q8: When (if at all) is it ok to go off-brand?

Ideally, you shouldn’t ever go off-brand. But if you find that you’re often saying and doing things that are off-brand, then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your brand. It’s good to evolve as you grow, but identify what you’re changing, why, and whether doing so will positively impact your business.

Brand evolution is an important part of growing your business. However, don’t make off-brand decisions for temporary gain—such as jumping on a trending hashtag that’s irrelevant to your business. That may do more harm than good.

All that said, as Christine reminded us, if you’re a personal brand or a business combined with a personal brand, you can and should go off-brand whenever you think it’s relevant. A personal brand, of course, is a reflection of yourself. As humans, we change our minds and processes all the time, and your brand should follow you. Don’t ever start following an image of a brand that you conjured up.

Well, that’s all from me, folks. Thanks for reading through, and for more insights from our chat with Anh, have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together for us. If you think this summary is pretty good, you’ll love the real-time chat. Join us every Thursday at 1pm ET on #TwitterSmarter. Afterward, we also hang out on Twitter Spaces at 5pm ET to continue our chat. Catch you there!

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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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