Social marketing: It’s essential to define your brand’s personality

Social Chain CEO Steven Bartlet talks about his business journey and offers valuable social marketing advice to small businesses.

I quit university at the age of 18 after realising that I would benefit more from experience in the real world over a lecture theatre. One thing I took away from my stint in higher education was that university communication was outdated and students required a new, modern platform to chat with each other.

This is about the time I became captivated by the intriguing world of social media and so I decided to launch Wallpark: a social media network created specifically for students. Fast forward a few years and Social Chain was also born. Social Chain is a global digital agency, which has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands and run some of the most famous pages on social media, such as Student Problems – it has a total reach of than 386m.

In today’s tech-centric world, developing a solid social marketing strategy can be a minefield and it’s not always easy to figure out where to start. That’s why I’m proud to be part of a panel of business experts for the Plusnet Pioneers campaign, an initiative aimed at helping small business owners as build and grow their businesses. By visiting the Plusnet website, you can get valuable advice and tips on marketing and securing funding for small businesses.

It’s clear that small business owners struggle to get to grips with social media. According to research conducted by Plusnet, 20 per cent of startups admit to not understanding social marketing. Meanwhile, nine per cent of small business owners admitted they don’t know how to advertise on social media.

Building a social strategy can be easier if broken down into smaller, bitesize steps. There are countless tools and resources available for SMEs when it comes to marketing a business. The best piece of advice I can give is to use them! Sign up to newsletters, subscribe to magazines, research online and keep up-to-date with the latest workshops and training courses.

Guarantee a return from your social media investment from the start

Social media can open doors and reach consumers outside your existing customer circle. Incorporating it into your marketing strategy will greatly increase your business’ overall visibility and therefore encourage conversions.

It’s important to understand the different platforms available to you and the purposes they serve. For example, longer form video content works best on YouTube, while shorter videos belong on Facebook or Instagram. Twitter can be used as a stage to tell a story for social commentary or discussion and generally isn’t as visually-led as Facebook and Instagram.

What’s more, make sure the story you’re telling is gripping and engaging – attaching it to a social or cultural trend or news will make it travel even further. Avoid overly branding your content, instead offering content that will add value to people’s lives. Use your social channels to leverage emotion amongst your followers, as content that makes people feel something is more likely to get shared.

Social media is all about a test and learn approach. There’s no one size fits all solution, so don’t worry if a certain piece of content or channel isn’t working for you. Through trial and error, you will be able to establish what works for your brand.

When it comes to social marketing, it’s essential to define your brand’s personality and showcase it on your channels. Take time to truly understand what your business stands for and aims to achieve, and use this to build your social media strategy. Demonstrate your business’ personality on your social channels and ensure it’s consistent throughout.

An effective and inexpensive tool to drive reach and awareness on social is to use influencers. It’s important to partner with influencers who are credible and relevant to your business. Ensure the content feels authentic and genuine to the influencer you’ve selected, as their audience will recognise if they’re promoting a product or service that’s out of character. Depending on your business and objectives, it’s worth investigating Iconosquare to identify relevant influencers.

But it’s not just about social marketing and building your brand – maintaining the human element is important in today’s world. Ultimately, people buy from people and they’re attracted to those who come across as experienced and passionate.

As a business owner or founder, it’s important to represent your brand from the get go. You have the influence to share your knowledge and opinions on your own platform, so make sure to keep your personal social profiles updated on a regular basis. Most importantly, remember to be honest and truthful to yourself.

Steven Bartlett is CEO of Social Chain

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