How to use social media to grow your brand.
It’s no secret that a large amount of the population uses social media to access entertainment, information, and shop. However, social media user numbers have jumped by more than 13 per cent since this time last year, which is an increase of more than half a billion users in just 12 months. This means that almost 57 per cent percent of the population uses social media. While the main goal of any brand is to generate sales, social media is also a way to gain brand awareness cheaply. It’s also a great way to solidify your business values and keep in contact with your customers. More and more customers want to purchase from ethical and sustainable brands, and sharing your brand story will help you connect with your audience in an honest and transparent way.
It can be very daunting to start on social media; when you are looking to launch your brand, it is a good idea to pick, say, two platforms that you know your target market will access. For example, Tiktok has a younger target demographic, while Instagram spans the younger and mid generations – however, usage is more prevalent with 18–29 year olds. A total of 77 per cent of people aged 30–49 use Facebook and 34 per cent of people aged 65+ use it too, so Facebook resonates with the older consumer.
“Ask your potential customers questions through stories and posts.”
My topical probiotic skincare brand, AMPERNA®, has been working on building communities on Facebook and Instagram since we launched, and has just started TikTok as well. Here are some of my tips to help you grow your brand on social media.
Use all the options available in the apps
Once you have picked your social media platforms make sure you regularly update your applications and learn about the features available to you. For example Instagram regularly brings out new features. When they launched reels, the Instagram algorithm favoured this type of content.
Focus on video
Social media videos let audiences feel a personal connection to the person doing the posting. They can humanise a big brand, make a product launch personal, and make a sales team fun and approachable. Most social media algorithms prefer video, and as the founder of AMPERNA® I regularly get on and create video content as our audience engages with it the most on our channels. People love to see who is behind a brand.
Be open about your brand story
It’s a great idea to regularly and honestly share your brand values and beliefs on your platform. AMPERNA® believes in trying to move towards being more sustainable and we share each time we hit a target or make the switch to carbon offsetting, for example. This helps customers feel a strong emotional response.
Share information-driven content
People love to learn and by sharing information you are not only selling them a product, you are educating them too. You are also solidifying your brand as one who cares and you will also increase the chance of being shared if you share interesting and fun facts that people are wanting to learn. You can research Google search trends, or look at what videos seem to be trending on platforms like TikTok.
Get to know your audience
Ask your potential customers questions through stories and posts. This is a great way to help you create content that is sure to be shared. However, it is also a way to help you advertise more strategically, as being more targeted with social media advertising means you can create ads in a more cost effective way.
Only work with influencers who share your values
There are millions of social media influencers (SMIs) acting as third-party endorsers for brands. It is a style of social media marketing whereby a brand or business usually pays for endorsements and product placement from influencers to help sell their products and services. The endorsements can range from a tweet, a subtle mention, use of a hashtag, a blog, testimonials or just a photograph of the influencer showing themselves with the product.
In recent years many countries have developed guidelines that influencers should adhere to. These include the policy by which influencers must disclose any time they are endorsing a product because of a paid partnership or a personal affiliation with the brand. This was done to help consumers understand they are viewing advertising materials. Once this policy was implemented, we started to see “paid partnership” at the top of the advertisement, but now it is more common to see the partnership subtly integrated into the copy post.
There are two key reasons why AMPERNA® doesn’t hand out lots of free products to social media influencers to promote their products. One is transparency and trust – we want these brand values to hold true and we want to promote our products with the efficiency they were built on. And the second is time-based. While SMIs promote overnight quick-fix products and would like us to believe there is a quick fix, the reality is there are no overnight fixes.
We’ve created a community
Because we have been practising the above tips, our social media accounts have turned into communities. Our audience feels comfortable asking us questions about our products and other questions as well, which means we are also becoming a trusted voice. This engaged audience has helped us expand our brand and our product line. When we wanted to release new products in both 2020 and 2021, we created content and polls on our channels and asked our audience to help us design products they wanted to use.
Social media can help you drive sales and expand brand awareness. However, it can also be a free platform for market research.
This article first appeared in issue 34 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine