Now, social media is one of the most effective and powerful tools that you can use to humanize your brand, increase awareness, build relationships and stand out from your competitors. But what is really special about social media is that it allows you to get personal and have an ongoing dialogue with your customers and prospects. There’s just no other type of marketing that enables this type of two-way communication between you and your target audience.
But if you want to attract followers and actually convert those followers into loyal customers, you need to have a well-defined brand that appeals to your audience.
The thing is, social media is a personal platform. It is an intimate platform. If you want to make social media work for your business, you need to make a personal connection with your customers and prospects. And in order for you to make that essential connection, consumers want to know exactly what you stand for.
Now, on social media, we’re not just looking for followers. Anybody can get followers. And the thing is, just getting followers doesn’t mean that will automatically translate to your balance sheet. Followers are just followers. And they’re going to remain followers unless you know what to do with them. What you actually want is for those followers to ultimately translate into loyal customers. But if you want your followers to translate into customers, they need to love, respect and trust your brand. They need to feel emotionally connected to your brand.
If you don’t have a strong and well-defined brand, then it means you don’t have a clear brand identity. And your target audience are not going to be emotionally connected with you because they don’t understand what you stand for.
64% of consumers say shared values are the primary reason why they form relationships with brands. And without a clearly defined brand identity, your target audience are just not going to understand what you stand for. Which means that ultimately, they are not going to connect with your brand on an emotional level. And without that essential emotional connection, your followers are never going to be engaged with your brand, or translate into loyal customers.
Now, if you are posting a lot of relevant content that your target audience find useful or relevant, then, yes. They are going to keep following you. But that is only because they like the content that you’re sharing with them.
But ultimately, that’s not going to do anything for you because your audience is not going to have any real loyalty for your brand. If you’re not connecting with their emotions, they are never going to engage with your brand or translate into loyal customers. They are only following you simply because of the content that you’re sharing with them. Nothing else. So, the relationship is one-sided.
Now, let’s be clear. Brand identity is not the same thing as branding. Brand identity is actually a product of effective branding. It is also different to brand image, which is the result you get from building a strong brand identity.
So, what exactly is brand identity?
Well, let’s look at a classic definition of brand identity.
Brand identity is the aggregate of all of the distinguishing attributes of your business. And that includes all of the visual elements of your brand such as your brand name, your logo, your color scheme, your personality, your USP and your mission statement. It includes the way you communicate with your target audience, and that is what makes you unique.
All of these components come together to distinguish your company from other companies that offer the same products or services that you do.
Fundamentally, the identity that you create for your brand needs to be strong and unique. But more importantly, it needs to be an identity that resonates with your target audience.
Now, the strongest brand identities are those that are instantly recognizable to everyone. And that includes household brands like Apple, Nike, Adidas, Chanel. However, these companies spend millions of dollars every year reinforcing their brand identities because they understand that it directly affects their sales and their market share.
Now, if you’re a small business, you might be wondering why you need to put in the effort to build a brand identity.
After all, you’re not Chanel. You’re not Nike. You’re not Apple.
In fact, you’re only a one man band that loves doing what you do.
And that’s a fair point.
But what you need to understand is that the size of your business is completely irrelevant in today’s marketplace. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re a one man business or a large corporation. The number one asset in your business, is your brand. It is not your price. It’s not your product. It is not your service. It is not your location.
It is your brand.
Your brand is the only difference between you and the thousands of businesses out there that do the exact same thing that you do. And that is why your brand is the most important attribute of your business. Your brand is what is going to help you stand out and give your business that competitive advantage. That competitive edge.
The thing is, people make purchasing decisions based on the way you make them feel. They buy with their emotions. And your brand is what is going to help you develop that essential emotional connection with your customers and your prospects.
Now, thanks to social media, we don’t have to spend the millions that all of these big companies have spent developing their brand. And that means we need to take full advantage of the incredible opportunity that social media offers.
But that also means that you need to define a strong brand identity that resonates with your audience, especially on social media. You need to create an awesome brand experience on social media for your audience. An experience that really taps into their emotions and helps you stand out from your competitors.
The fact of the matter is, your brand is going to underpin your entire online marketing campaign, especially your social media campaign. And that is why your brand identity needs to be strong, clear, well-defined and consistent.