Building Brand Identity & Trust through Social Media
This is Chapter 3 from the Branding on Social Media Guide.
Defining Brand Identity
Brand Identity is the specific way you differentiate yourself from your competition – the sum total of the specific elements that shape how your brand is perceived.
To put it very simply: all the components related to your product, service, company is your “brand identity.” These components are basically your brand’s name, logo, voice, tone and style that create an appeal and helps your audience decide whether they want to engage with you or not.
Brand identity is different from brand image.
The difference between brand identity and brand image
- Refers to the way the company wants the target audience to perceive the brand.
- Includes visible elements of the brand.
- Indicates the company’s reality.
- Is the company’s face – it reflects the values, personality and ideas of the company.
- Is a result of the collective effort of an organisation and its management to create a great product with recognizable characteristics.
Here’s how Starbucks wants the audience to perceive the brand:
Image source: Starbucks
They share their vision, which is basically their brand’s identity:
“…it is our vision that together we will elevate our partners, customers, suppliers and neighbors to create positive change. To be innovators, leaders and contributors to an inclusive society and a healthy environment so that Starbucks and everyone we touch can endure and thrive.”
Image source: Starbucks
- Indicates the way that the consumers perceive the brand.
- Includes both visual elements and brand associations.
- Indicates the perception of consumers.
- Explains the way customers think of a brand and the feeling they experience when getting in contact with the brand.
- Is developed over time, either through promotional campaigns or through direct customer interaction
Here’s what customers think of Starbucks:
All of the above show just how most customers perceive Starbucks as a brand.
The bottom line, Starbucks’ brand image speaks loud and clear. They are people oriented, and they do have “an unusually human approach to business”.
- What’s your approach?
- How do you want your audience to perceive your company?
- How do your customers (already) perceive you?
Be wise when building your brand identity and brand image. It can make or break your brand. In fact, your company’s success depends on these two elements.
How do you build Brand Identity?
Now that you understand the main differences between brand identity and brand image, let’s see how exactly do you build a brand identity.
In order to do that, however, let’s see first what the purpose of brand identity really is.
Well, its main purpose is to set guidelines and consistency. And, what consistency in identity does, is to create and implement a corporate culture that surrounds the product. However, building your brand’s identity isn’t an easy task. It takes time and effort. But the results, in the end, are well worth it.
The secret behind a great Brand Identity
Just to be clear, a fancy logo and some great colors don’t make a brand identity.
A clear, well-rooted identity needs to be well studied and understood in order to be created.
Here are the most important keys behind a well-thought brand identity:
- A great brand identity stands out among competitors and catches your audience’s attention
- It creates a visual impact – it becomes easily recognizable
- It is flexible – it can evolve with the brand
- Each brand element should complement the brand identity
- It should be simple to apply by being intuitive and clear
Steps to creating your Brand Identity
- Research your audience and competition
- Design the logo, choose the colors, the templates
- Integrate the language, connection, advertise, social media
- Know what to avoid
- Monitor your brand
These steps are very important if you want to get things right and build your brand identity the proper way. So, don’t hesitate, check out some more info about how it’s done, here.
Defining building Trust through Social Media
The great benefits of using social media in business marketing are well known.
While many businesses are enjoying the considerable results of being on social media, an important aspect is being overlooked when reaching out to your audience. And that is: using your social media platforms to build trust.
The bottom line: Social media can be used to get your prospects to know, like, and trust you. Use it to your advantage. Building trust in social media is an excellent tactic that brings fantastic results long term.
Why is trust so important?
Because when building a relationship with your audience, without trust you simply can’t get passed a certain level even in your already built relationship. Therefore when it comes to building a relationship with the consumers, trust is a key ingredient.
Customer engagement is essential when building your brand. However, before customer engagement happens, your business needs to build a social media dialogue that can actually lead to a trusting relationship.
How do you do that? By interacting directly and right away with your consumers. Transform your social media marketing into loyalty marketing.
Honest & Transparent Content is the greatest sales and trust-building tool in the world.
Social media and customer loyalty go hand in hand through emotional engagement – which eventually turns into the sought-after trust relationship between your brand and the loyal consumer.
Tips & tricks on how brands can develop trust through Social Media
Trust is the most important component of social media.
Here are some excellent ways you can emotionally engage with your audience and build trust through your social media channels:
Especially in today’s “filtered” world, being real is something everyone is seeking, without maybe even knowing.
The same goes for marketing. There’s so much deceitfulness going on everywhere around us – that sometimes it may feel as if what all businesses want is pretty much to have their backs and take advantage of their consumers. If you want to cultivate a trustworthy relationship with your audience, you need to be real, my friend.
Lacking to develop authenticity on your socials will not get you loyalty and certainly won’t get you trust either.
To build trust, you have to let people know you’re honest and show integrity. Don’t just focus on yourself, interact with your target audience. The good news is, social media platforms provide a great opportunity to build trust with your consumers.
Here are a few important steps that can help you build trust:
- Build a respectable, good reputation
- Show integrity
- Prove credibility
Once you manage to build trust with your audience, you’ll have their loyalty.
The reward for earning trust is a big one: loyalty.
~ Sally Hogshead
So, what is it that you want to achieve? A solid, long term relationship with your consumers? Or a short term engagement?
If your audience figures out that you may have been a total phony, fooling them the entire time, any engagement will most definitely end. Good luck recovering from that on social media.
People love a good, genuine story online – something that actually reflects the truth and the values of the brand. Don’t be fooled. People will smell bad intentions and dishonest messages and will chase you down – you can’t get away with it.
Be honest, be genuine, be real … be who you really are. People will relate to that and become loyal to your brand.
With the evolution of the internet, social media and smartphones, information is out there, available for everyone interested. As a result, businesses can’t hide behind pretty (but fake) social media profiles anymore.
Consider this: in order to win over your target audience, you need to open up and cultivate transparency on all of your social media platforms.
By not being transparent on social media you can easily damage your brand’s image. So make sure to represent your brand the right way and communicate honestly with your consumers – this approach will make a huge difference. And, keep in mind, if your business is hiding something about your services or products, someone at some point will figure it out and your ‘secret’ will be shamelessly exposed.
The bottom line: Transparency is key if you are interested to engage your audience, grow your company, achieve success and build trust. So, be transparent about both your products and services.
If you want loyal consumers, you need to build a transparent brand. If it helps, continually remind yourself that social media is the ideal platform for connecting with your audience by cultivating a relationship based on honesty, transparency, and trust.
All of the above may sound cheesy, but it’s the reality. And if we are being honest with ourselves, this is basically what we all want. Isn’t it?
In today’s economy brand transparency isn’t an option, it’s a requirement.
Here are few smart ways you can build trust through transparency on social media:
✔️ Show consistent branding on all your social platforms – make sure that you are using the same profile picture or logo, the same backgrounds, the same colors, the same slogans and giving the same info on all your social platforms.
✔️ Allow customers to have a look into your business – this is one of the best ways to establish a connection with your consumers and gain their trust. You could create short videos about some of your team members, showing how they contribute to the company’s well-being and how their work actually benefits the customers.
Consumers love to see who are the people, the leaders behind the great services and products they appreciate.
✔️ Don’t hold back addressing criticism – being afraid or lacking to address criticism on social media is a huge mistake and it will sooner or later backfire. Being defensive isn’t an option either. You don’t want to lose credibility over some criticism.
So, just be open and honest about any problems your brand may be experiencing. Also, any mistake done by your company needs to be addressed and fixed. Be a professional. If it’s the case, make sure to also leave a reply at any of the negative feedback on your social platforms. It will show you care.
When negative reviews are being left without any response from your company, it sends the message that you aren’t taking your customers seriously.
✔️ Own up your mistakes – take initiative to do it. Never try to cover up a mistake, even if you are tempted to do so. It will come back and bite you (you know where)… when you least expect it.
Any attempt to cover up a mistake sends the message that you are dishonest and sneaky.
Always openly admit to your mistakes and take action. Let your customers know about the problem, while working on fixing whatever went wrong. You’ll be gaining more trust rather than decreasing trust. The key here is to make sure your customers find out about any problems you may be experiencing, directly from you. At all costs, avoid your company falling victim to negative publicity and scandal.
Humanize your interactions
By doing so, you’ll be able to create trust-building connections. What you need to do is show your audience that there are actual humans behind their favorite brand.
Making behind-the-scenes available for your audience will help to humanize the company, therefore making your brand much more likable.
Your consumer is interested to see what’s behind the scene. Who you really are. How things are happening in your company. Make sure to add a human touch when getting into a conversation with a customer on social media. Show that you care about your audience. Try constantly including them in conversations, and allow your brand personality to be seen through everything you say and do.
Go for UGC (user-generated content)
As it turns out user-generated content is a very efficient method to make your products attractive and create engagement.
For instance, when your audience sees your product displayed by a real person who has purchased that specific product, it becomes easier for them to imagine themselves using the same product. As opposed to simply seeing a nice photo of your product posted online.
Also, when you want to reuse a piece of earned content in which your brand has been tagged into, the nice and right thing to do is to tag the photo as well as @ mention the account in the caption. And, if you want to really make things right, you could also DM (short for Direct Message) that person to ask for their permission. You’ll be surprised to see how much people appreciate such actions.
Use the opportunity and communicate your expertise in your industry – provide good quality content that people will want to share with others. This way, you can actually become a thought leader in your industry.
You should always focus on adding value to your social platforms, and such value can come in many forms – but, its goal should mainly be to teach, entertain, start-up discussions, and obviously to gain authentic feedback.
Whatever you do, don’t spam your audience with purchasing opportunities. Your primary focus needs to be to add value – otherwise, you’ll lose credibility.
Be quick and responsive in customer care
If your customers know that they can reach out to you through social media to find the answers they need regarding your services or your products, they will. And when they do, make sure you provide them with a positive customer care experience. Surely, your excellent customer care services won’t stay unnoticed. You can even end up with great testimonies.
As a conclusion, be attentive, quick and helpful and handle your customers with care.
Be socially responsible
Let your customers know that you care about others. Show them that you aren’t one of those self-centered brands. This will prove to be a great way to build trust with your audience.
As it turns out, if you are a socially involved brand, chances are you’ll build more social strength over time. Why? Simply because your customers are aware of the fact that your brand isn’t just about gaining profit, but also to give back to the community, one way or another.
Once you are socially responsible, you can let your audience know about your actions and allow the information to spread organically. Social platforms are perfect for this.
So, guys, once you discover your brand’s identity, manage to build trust, make your social media presence count!
The bottom line: In order to create your social media brand, you’ll have to invest a lot of time and effort, and be consistent. In the end, the benefits of creating a solid brand will be well worth it.
So regardless of the business you are in, be aware that consumers are more interested in your brand’s personality. People will want to buy your brand. And speaking of ‘buying your brand’, you’ll need to know how to ‘sell your brand’ the right way. And that’s where great copy comes in.
But how do you write great copy on social media? Well, there are some special techniques for that. So special, that they will make your life much much easier once you get how they work.