Let’s face it — skepticism towards social media exists and rightfully so.
People are wary.
There are concerns over the public’s susceptibility to negative influences, the rise of fake news, echo-chambers limiting personal thought and so on. Yes, some might be quick to dismiss these apprehensions, or claim naysayers have Neo-Luddistic tendencies, but I think they’re valid.
However, allowing these feelings to hinder personal and professional growth would be foolish!
Social media has the ability to empower.
It foments lifelong learning. It exposes users to diverse perspectives and creates an atmosphere of collaboration. It inspires movements, and sparks change.
In my opinion, its benefits far outweigh its risks.
Personally, I joined Twitter two years ago.
My graduate school professor had gasped when I told him, I, a millennial, working in branding, wasn’t on social media.
Eventually, he convinced me to sign up.
Little did I know, doing so, would teach me more about branding than, honestly, he ever did.
These are 10 of the best branding lessons I learned from social media.
- Consistency is crucial.
Branding is about credibility and trust.
Ensuring your brand has a consistent voice online and offline, across all platforms, is important. It helps your audience understand, remember and appreciate your brand.
Furthermore, if you provide experiences and content that are of quality on a regular basis, you can help establish thought leadership and a positive reputation.
- Authenticity increases brand recognition.
Authenticity is important.
Being genuine as a brand shows a larger commitment to your brand story and values.
It connotes transparency and as such, establishes a culture of trust and acceptance.
- You must value your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
Understanding and owning your brand difference is vital.
It’s daunting to be on social media and come across thousands of users who share similar content.
As such, you must figure out your brand has to offer — whether it be products, content, experiences, etc. — that make it stand out.
Embracing that will enable you to remain relevant.
- Time Management is necessary.
Social Media is a full-time job.
In order to maintain a steady flow of posts and have reliable engagement, you have to learn to plan.
The same is true for all branding efforts.
Branding needs to be at the core of every decision you take.
Every action or message needs to reflect your purpose. As such, having a strategy is crucial. It ensures you are consistent and meet all needs.
- Storytelling builds brand loyalty.
Branding is a lot like romance.
There’s an emotional component that draws your audience in. Your brand story serves to endear your target.
Storytelling is what compels followers, customers, partners, etc. to take action. It has the ability to forge a deeper bond between you and your tribe.
It can humanize your brand and convert customers into advocates.
It can boost brand loyalty, recognition and brand experience.
- Branding is strengthened by diversity.
I’m not just talking about cultural diversity.
I’m talking about neurodiversity. I’m talking about exposing your brand to different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences.
By embracing difference, your brand becomes better equipped to understand and serve new audiences.
Furthermore, your brand can utilize the diversity of those around it, online and offline, to enhance ideation, innovation, design thinking, content creation, marketing, brand experience and so forth.
- Active listening guarantees better brand performance.
There’s a difference between hearing, listening and active listening.
There are varying levels of attentiveness attached to all three.
Active listening requires the most. It is what enables you to extrapolate value from others and from what they have to offer.
On social media, and offline, it helps you comprehend, sift and prioritize information.
If you actively listen to your brand feedback, market, competitors, employees, social channels, etc. you are able to gather the insights needed for better brand performance.
- Innovation, design thinking and creativity ensure longevity.
Market saturation can seem like quite an impediment for new brands looking to attract an audience.
Social media, for example, is inundated with content, which for the most part is repetitive and goes unnoticed.
However, can a market truly be saturated? No.
A brand that values, practices and invests in creativity, design thinking and innovation is able to better predict and meet market needs. Thus, they are able to distinguish themselves from others and successfully navigate, and excel in, an otherwise impenetrable market.
- Mindfulness and intentionality deepen your brand impact.
Given how hyperconnected the world is and how fast-paced life has become, content creation is, unfortunately, turning into a numbers game.
Quality is often sacrificed in order to create more content, faster. The immediacy with which audiences demand information often forces brands to produce content that isn’t really tethered to their larger brand objectives, values, messages, etc.
To avoid doing this and to guarantee all brand contributions have both value and purpose, brands need to be mindful and intentional. That means they must be conscious of the impact they’re creating or failing to create.
- Branding is more than what you do.
Branding is who and what you are.
For the most part, our tendency is to lead with what we do when talking about ourselves.
It seems work, titles and talents are of the utmost importance online and offline. People and businesses tend to demarcate their networks based on those three things and regrettably, forget to embrace other key elements of their brand.
It is important to understand that while this is a core component of who you are, as a person or as a business, you are more than what you do.
Your history, your why, your values, passions, all matter.
You are your brand.
To conclude, I’ll say this.
There’s a large gamut of reasons as to why people are hesitant to embrace social media.
This post is not meant to belittle those concerns, but to prove that the negative reputation social media receives isn’t always warranted.
Every new experience has something to teach us.