Have you ever noticed that some brands seem to thrive on the Internet, while others struggle? The landscape of social media is dense, competitive, and noise-heavy. Building a clear, identifiable brand is difficult enough. How do you build a brand people genuinely like and will respond to?
While there’s no one sure-fire formula, there are steps that are proven to work – and they’re easier to implement than you might think:
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a principle many business owners miss altogether. To build a likeable brand, you have to provide something of value. It doesn’t have to be an insightful, utility-driven blog post or data-rich infographic (although both those things are great). It can be something witty, touching, or even cute. Content that brightens or enriches someone’s day will generally get shared far more often than a coupon code or sale announcement. A business should always be mindful of keeping humor appropriate and free of controversy, but treating your audience like a good friend isn’t a bad start.
Put In the Time.
A classic mistake seen quite often is not putting in the time to build a brand. I’ve known so many clients who create a Facebook page and Twitter account, post a couple of lackluster updates, and then give up because it “isn’t working.” Make no mistake: it’s difficult and time-consuming to build a presence on social media. It takes daily effort and investment over the long haul to make it work. That funny, useful, engaging content won’t help you much if you post once a month. There’s a reason so many businesses hire dedicated social media people — if you really want to build a likeable brand, it can be a full-time job in itself.
Create a Voice.
Finding a voice for your brand is one of the trickiest parts of building your presence. It requires knowing (and researching) your audience, figuring out what your brand stands for, and keeping your messaging consistent with those beliefs. A great logo or snappy tagline can help, but that’s not enough. You also need to figure out what sets your brand apart from the competition (and if the answer is “nothing,” well, there’s your problem). Everything from the content you create and share to the tone you use when engaging should reflect the core values of your brand. It’s not easy, but it’s vital to building likeability.
Engage Your Publics
Look at some of the most successful brands on social media, and you’ll find brands that engage with their audience. Posting shareable, compelling content is a great start. Having a conversation with your audience is the next step. The more you build your brand and visibility, the bigger a job this will become. Talk to your audience, answer their questions, address their concerns. It should go without saying that you should always be polite and professional and never insult your audience. But many businesses (and individuals) fail at this and become unfortunate object lessons. This is why building a voice and sticking to it is so important.
Be a Fountain, Not a Drain.
It’s no secret that negative and controversial content gets eyeballs on the Internet — but if you want to build a likeable brand, it’s best to steer clear of negativity as much as possible. You can and should acknowledge negative reactions, but do so in a positive way. Ideally, your content and engagement should inspire, uplift, and make people want to come back for more. Being obnoxious, offensive, or arrogant might get you some short-term notoriety, but in general, it’s not something people are going to want to associate with for long. If your first question when creating content is “how will this improve someone’s day?” you’re off to a great start.
In case you haven’t noticed, all these steps interlock and work together. Building a successful, appealing brand takes ongoing effort, consistent (and positive) tone, and willingness to engage, evolve and listen. Start with just one of these steps, and you’ll be on the road to building a memorable brand people will love.