Looking to improve your brand image on social media? Having a consistent social media presence is key to building and strengthening a brand image. Social media is one of the best tools to influence a customer’s experience and attitude toward the brand. It can be one of the fastest and most personal ways of interacting with a customer in real time.
According to a study conducted in 2018, “brand image is categorized by customer brand perception. The goal of strategic work with the image of the brand is to make sure customers have strong and decisive associations with a specific brand in their minds” (Bacik et al., 2018). In this study, Bacik et al. analyzed the relationship between six factors that affect branding in social media and the customer experience with the brand. These six factors included “the regularity and relevancy of the content added, the appropriate form of SM communication, visual presentation, publication at a particular time, and the use of social media mix” (Bacik et al., 2018). After determining that all of the above factors are of influence, relevancy of content was arguably among the most important. Building a good brand image and customer base can take years, but here are a few tips on how you can go about maintaining and keeping a successful brand image.
Specify your target audience
Social media branding can be target audience-specific and your content can easily reach individuals who are interested in your brand. “Social media tools are truly capable of selecting people according to the target criteria of a variety of demographic species, activities, interests, etc.” (Bacik et al., 2018). Being able to define your target audience can be a great way to make sure the content you are creating is relevant to your given audience. Something as simple as researching your target market and finding out what platforms they use on social media can help get your brand in front of someone who may be interested in it.
Publish relevant and consistent content
Social media activity needs to be stable and consistent, while also remaining relevant. Publishing irrelevant content can result in a negative brand image. Customers may view your brand as flaky and unreliable if your posts don’t fit your brand and seem out of place. According to Bacik et al. (2018), “content must be relevant to the target audience, the audience must be interested in it, and it must have an added value”. It is also important that content is not only consistent on one platform but across all platforms your brand is present. Also, make sure to keep in mind the timing of posts. Knowing what is going on in current events can be helpful to keep posts from being viewed as insensitive or sending the wrong message at an inopportune time.
Visual presentation is key
People can make a quick decision about a brand within just a few seconds of viewing their online presence. Having an overly jumbled or boring appearance can make a lasting impact on a person’s brand perception. “For example, if we handle social media accounts in an indiscriminate and inconvenient way, a person does not even seek to find additional information even if that company could be the one with the solution he needs. If it does not interest him, he is immediately gone” (Bacik et al., 2018). Taking the time to make sure your content is clean, eye-catching, and represents your brand can help convey the image you want to a potential consumer. These strategies could include cleaning up your feed on Instagram, sticking with a consistent font or color theme throughout your posts, or having a nice profile image for your page.
Communicate with your audience
Communication with your audience is important. The customer’s experience with the brand online can influence brand loyalty. “Social media has the power to contribute to brand awareness in the online environment, including serving as the voice of a company that can communicate with the customer and create interaction, making the brand more accessible to existing and new customers” (Bacik et al., 2018). Experiences and interactions with your followers can reflect both positively and negatively on a brand image. It is necessary to make sure you are present and actively engaging with followers across all of your brand’s platforms equally. Having a platform and never posting content or engaging with followers could be viewed as unprofessional and reflect poorly on your brand image.
The research conducted by Bacik et al. can help aid in the social media practices of the IMC practitioner. It points towards what is currently relevant and what audiences want to see from brands on social media. However, it is important to keep in mind that social media interaction is constantly adapting and changing with the world around us. Adapting IMC branding practices will be important to keep brands relevant as new technologies and platforms evolve. When starting a new brand, or even improving an old one, it will be useful to keep these tips in mind to be a successful brand manager on social media.
Bacik, R., Fedorko, R., Nastisin, L. & Gavurova, B. (2018), “Factors of communication mix on social media and their role in forming customer experience and brand image”, Management & Marketing. Challenges for the Knowledge Society, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 1108-1118, DOI: 10.2478/mmcks-2018-0026
Written by Holly Pearce. You can learn more about Holly and our other blogwriters by clicking the “Our Team” banner at the top!