By Alexander Carbone

In a world of greater digital connectedness, the role that branding plays across social media channels for your small business is imperative. Fortunately, there are a plethora of low-cost and free tools to advertise your business, which social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Yelp provide. However, few business owners use these platforms strategically to build their brand and reach potential customers, investors and business partners. This article provides some tips and tricks to build your social brand strategy.

Take a Multi-Channel Approach

“Multi-channel” means not restricting your social brand strategy to a small number of platforms. The most successful brands build a presence on multiple social media websites, including more casual platforms like Instagram and Facebook, and professional platforms like LinkedIn. Furthermore, business owners are encouraged to look for specialized platforms to advertise your products and services. For example, creative businesses might consider Pinterest, while local businesses with an in-person presence might consider Yelp.

Overall, taking a multi-channel approach has a few benefits. First, it increases the likelihood that you will get noticed by expanding your addressable market. Furthermore, it helps keep your brand fresh in customers’ minds, as seeing it across multiple social media platforms allows you to build a “larger than life” presence. Finally, it offers credibility, which can be especially helpful for service-based businesses where reputation matters most. This part takes the most research, but it also can yield the greatest reward when done correctly.

Aim for Consistency

All too often, you will find small business owners who have a different description, logo and product set mentioned on different platforms. Perhaps they developed a Facebook page early in the lifecycle of their business, followed by a LinkedIn page after rebranding their operations. Having forgotten to visit their original Facebook page, the description, website link and logo are now out of date, leading to confusion and a lack of brand consistency. For the savvy customer, this can negatively impact credibility, leading to a loss of potential sales.

The lesson here is to aim for consistency when building a social media profile for your business. In doing so, consider the following elements:

  • Use consistent descriptions for your business and/or present the same menu of products/services across each channel you use
  • Make sure that color schemes, logos and other branding is consistent across channels
  • Maintain a system to track any changes or updates to one social page and ensure these are reflected on others

Test Your Strategy

Put yourself in the shoes of an interested customer. To do this, Google the name of your business – or better yet, search for the need that your products or services fulfil and see if your social pages appear. In doing so, visit each link and simulate the experience of a new customer learning about your business for the first time. Does the copy on each page resonate with you? Is it easy to link to your website or other marketing funnels that start converting interested customers into sales? What made you want to learn more about the business and what can you change to boost your conversion rate?

While testing your social brand strategy in this way is important, it can be even better to task a friend or relative with doing so. This frees you from the bias of knowing your own business and gives you an independent perspective as a reference point. This is an easy and no-cost way to conduct some basic market research, often called “user testing.”

Building your social brand strategy can be daunting, so hopefully these tips have been helpful! Don’t forget to get in touch with ACCESS is you have any questions about loans for your business or how our new Small Business Accelerator can help your business effectively market itself online.