How to make your brand stand out on social media

Your Business, April/May 2018 issue

By Amantle Mokubung

Oftentimes, small business owners fall into the trap of perceiving social media platforms as merely tools on which they can have their logo and company name appear, and hardly ever see the need to have it properly weaved into their integrated marketing strategy. Social media should not be an after-thought but instead an essential component of overall marketing strategies to help businesses position their brands while maintaining strong online communities. In March 2019, I attended an Instagram workshop that was facilitated by Facebook Africa in partnership with Heavy Chef. The key takeout and a reflection point for me was that more work still needs to be done in empowering businesses to maximise the use of social media by taking advantage of the various functionalities of each platform that can be used to have people fall in love with your brand and ultimately generate leads and sales for your business. Here are a few tips on how you can make your brand stand out on social media.

1. Use your offline platforms to create awareness and to inform both your existing customers and prospects of your soon to launch social media accounts. If you have a brick and mortar establishment, consider the installation of cues that will encourage your existing customers (some may already be your brand advocates) to authentically share their brand experience with their followers. The norm has become reaching out to one’s followers and virtual friends when seeking product or service recommendations. When people are aware of your offering and your social media accounts, it becomes easy for them to tag your business account on the platform. I continue to witness small business owners generating new business leads and sales on online communities such as Brownsense.

2. Gain consistency and get more people to discover your business through social media by branding your content. Make use of your logo and other brand elements such as sonic triggers that you might have already created and used in previous marketing campaigns.

3. Select content pillars that will guide the type of content that you share on your business’s social media accounts. Consider identifying your business’ unique selling factors (USPs) that prospects are most likely to find valuable. For example, a restaurant owner may choose the presentation of the food on their menu, ambiance and special events as their content pillars. The selection of content pillars will also help trigger the need for you or your Social Media Manager to capture the moments that form part of the content pillars.

4. Share valuable bite-sized, visual and engaging content. Invest time in crafting captions and resources in photographing or recording your content. Furthermore, conduct an audit of your social media content and make the effort to keep the aesthetics of the brand consistent at all touchpoints. Your customers ought to know what to expect from you as a business and as a brand.

5. Avoid constantly sharing hard sales-focused content by compiling valuable content that is related to your product and service offering. A brand such as Bathu; selling stylish sneakers and loafers may choose to share a time-lapse video in which we are shown a DIY process of cleaning a specific pair of sneakers (sensitive to the type of material of the shoes) using some ingredients from a typical kitchen cupboard.

6. Be authentic in your brand communication at all times; ensure that your communication reflects your brand’s character, personality, values and beliefs. Stand for something. I recently read an article by one of my former CEOs Abey Mokgwatswane who is now the Managing Executive of Brand and Communications at Vodacom. He says: Too often, we’ve been too responsive to the requirements of the product set vs focusing on the brand story”. We are used to being elaborative especially when it comes to what our business is about. Traditionally, brands have had to put together their pride and joy; a whole company profile. With the way in which people now consume content, it has become important to produce bite-size content although it is hardly ever easy. In my observation, the challenge comes due to the fact that most businesses focus on the description of the actual product that we are selling versus the value that we are selling to consumers through the product. If we could speak to the heart as brands, we can find simplified ways communicating our brand message.

While you work on implementing these tips, remember to ensure that what your words (marketing communication) match your actions by consistently delivering on your brand promise. With the growth and impact of social media on the way in which people consume content, word of mouth travels faster than ever before – let it be what your business is chasing