10 Ways to Make Your Brand Stand Out on Social Media
By Jane Ainsworth on 1st September 2021
It feels as if we shouldn’t still be talking about this in 2021 but, despite the fact we know that any meaningful marketing strategy should include a social strand, investment in social content has been slow to catch up in some sectors.
The truth is brilliant content that captures attention and converts into tangible results does not happen by luck. It takes insight, creativity and a firm grasp on your brand’s market position to succeed in increasingly cluttered digital spaces.
In this Reading Room article, WPR managing director Jane Ainsworth offers her 10 top tips for developing content to make your brand stand out on social media.
- 1. Be Selective
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to be everywhere. The plethora of social channels can be overwhelming, but in reality few brands will derive real value from being on every platform. Know your audience, know which channels they use and start there. Doing the right things well will serve your brand better than spreading yourself, your team or your budget too thin. If you’re working with an agency, trust their experience and advice about where your brand will gain the most traction.
- 2. Be Authentic
Social media users expect an element of personality – a human touch – from brands. For some consumer brands with strong identities, or for smaller entrepreneurial businesses, this comes pretty naturally. But taking the leap from corporately approved copy to a more informal and conversational style can be daunting. Find the right tone but don’t force it; if your content doesn’t feel authentic to your brand’s identity, it won’t drive the results you’re after.
- 3. Be Responsive
It’s called ‘social’ for a reason. As powerful a broadcast tool as social media can be, it’s missing a trick to consider it a one-way channel for brand messages. You can and should aim for real dialogue. This can be scary – audiences don’t always say what you want to hear – but if you embrace it and create connections, you can build relationships to take you beyond the purely transactional. And just as you should always have a PR crisis policy in place, you need a plan for how to handle negative content. Brands that do this well can turn problems into positive experiences, nipping issues in the bud and being seen to put things right.
- 4. Be Experimental
The leading platforms are constantly evolving in a never-ending battle to stay relevant, retain users and attract new fans. The innovations and tools they regularly introduce provide opportunities to be creative, try something new and see whether it works for your brand and your audience. Staying abreast of the latest updates might feel like a full-time job, but this is where an agency working across platforms and industries can offer valuable insight by identifying and recommending the options worth exploring.
- 5. Be Topical
It almost goes without saying that a brand’s social content should be timely and topical. That said, if you jump on every bandwagon and shoehorn your brand into topics where the link is tenuous, you’ll look inauthentic. There’s a certain art to spotting the hooks and themes that will grab attention for the right reasons and make audiences smile. Some of this relates to having a firm grasp on your brand’s ‘voice’. But it is also about having the creative capacity to capitalise quickly on relevant trending themes, combined with a strong plan identifying relevant topics ahead of time.
- 6. Be Visual
As lovers of a well-crafted phrase at WPR, we never play down the importance of creative copy. However, the visual design element of social content cannot be overstated. From eye-catching images and informative infographics to engaging video – a medium which is only growing in the wake of TikTok’s success – your brand’s aesthetic presence is vital. This is another area where investment can reap rewards. Developing visually engaging social assets, and being able to evaluate and refine them during a campaign, can elevate a brand’s social presence to the next level.
- 7. Be Authoritative
Who even remembers a time before we could simply Google everything we ever needed to know? Our default is now to turn to the internet for every nugget of information we require. With prospective customers actively searching for advice, information and expertise every day, whatever area your brand operates in, the chances are there’s scope to create valuable content for your audience. By positioning your brand as a thought leader or advice source, you can not only build brand awareness, loyalty and engagement, but also drive traffic back to your core online presence.
- 8. Be Entertaining
If this feels like a big ask, remember it doesn’t mean your social content has to be packed with jokes. It is more about finding ways to keep your audiences interested in what you have to say. You might do that through online polls allowing people to share opinions, through competitions, social ‘takeovers’ or behind-the-scenes insight into an aspect of your business customers might not normally experience.
- 9. Be Consistent
This is where the real legwork comes in. Consistency is essential for a successful social media strategy and it is easier to be consistent if you’re planning effectively. Whether handling your content in-house or using an agency, an intelligently developed content plan will allow you to accomplish more. From effective prioritising and efficient scheduling to making your content work harder by repurposing material developed elsewhere, consider ways to streamline activity.
- 10. Be Analytical
To be certain the time, effort and budget going into your social strategy is paying dividends, you need to be analysing its effectiveness. This means not only tracking data, but also being intelligent about measuring success. Increased followers and engagement are not necessarily a sign of success – you need to know you’re reaching relevant audiences. One of the joys of social is how quickly you can have an impact; the speed of response and reaction means that if you are willing to test, review and refine your approach, good results can be transformed into stellar results as campaigns evolve.
If you would like to find out more about how WPR can create killer content that converts for your brand, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.
The author: Jane Ainsworth is managing director of WPR. She has more than 20 years’ experience in developing and delivering communications strategies for consumer brands including Dunelm, Tesco, Mothercare, Greene King, John Lewis, Bullring, Beaverbrooks and Westfield.