How to Brand your Company Using Social Media
This article and expertise was originally published on Bop Design.
Telling your brand story is more than just slapping dates together on an About Us page and throwing it up on the website with a stock image. Your brand story should be a major differentiator, something that sets you apart from your competition and compels your prospects to partner with you. It’s an opportunity to not talk about your products and services, but to talk about the real value of partnering with your firm.
When it comes to B2B branding and storytelling, there are a variety of ways to tell your brand story in a way that engages your target audience. Let’s look at five interesting ways to share your company’s brand story.
Reveal your history
Your company was founded with purpose and that purpose was not simply to make money. The main purpose was to meet a need. An intriguing way to share your B2B brand story is by revealing the history behind the founding of your company. Answer questions like:
- Why did we create this business?
- What drove our success through the years?
- How did we adapt to the market?
- What needs did we focus on?
- How did we expand or grow to meet the needs of more customers?
By building a story through the retelling of history, you draw your target audience in and reveal how the values of your company and your focus on the customer’s needs have driven your business. It’s a compelling method for letting your prospects know that they are the center of your business.
Showcase your founders
Many B2B companies are built on the drive, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit of a founder or founders. Particularly in the United States, we are obsessed with hearing the story of a successful entrepreneur who was driven by a passion, whether it’s a passion for innovation, customer service, technology, or knowledge. Telling your brand story by shining the spotlight on the founder(s) is a strategic way to craft an emotional connection with your audience. Answer questions such as:
- What is their background/expertise?
- What event(s) compelled them to found a company?
- What was/is their vision for the company?
- How do/did they interact with clients?
- What are their main professional values?
Showcasing the founders of a company puts a human face behind a corporate entity and makes your brand relatable. This is particularly compelling if your company is older and the founders aren’t involved or running the brand any longer. This is essentially going back to basics and focusing on the genesis of your B2B brand.
Build a timeline
There may be major events or accomplishments in your brand’s history that will resonate with your ideal target market. Weaving these events together is a great way to tell your brand story. A visual representation of the events arranged as a timeline is an easy to use, appealing way to convey the founding of your company, as well as major accomplishments or changes over the course of your brand’s history. Answer questions like:
- What innovations did we bring to the industry?
- Did we pioneer a technology or service?
- What prestigious industry awards did we win?
- What is our contribution to the industry?
- Did we have significant periods of growth/change?
As you build your timeline (which doesn’t need to be extensive), think about the events or accomplishments that build credibility with your audience and establish you as the clear authority in the field. B2B branding should always include the audience as an active participant in the storytelling. Keep this in mind so you don’t alienate them.
Turn to your customers
If it wasn’t for your customers, you’d be out of business. This is a simple truth that you should always come back to in your branding and marketing. For many B2B firms, the customers are essential to building your brand. Their needs shape your service or product offerings. When it comes to the B2B industries, it’s less of a client-vendor relationship and more of a partnership. A cool way to share the story of your brand is to turn to your customers, their needs, and how your firm worked with them to provide solutions. Tell your story by telling the story of your customers. Answer questions such as:
- What problems have we helped solve?
- Are their specific cases where we have made a significant impact for a client(s)?
- How do we help our clients be successful?
- How do our values positively impact our clients?
- What is our mission statement?
- When has our service delivery showed exemplary results?
- Where has customer service driven new processes and procedures?
Potential clients want to know what you bring to the table and what your brand is all about. A captivating brand story is told by real client partnerships and demonstrates innovative solutions.
Feature your employees
Your company may not have an extensive history, a ton of client case studies, or a memorable founder – but you always have your employees. Your employees are essentially your brand warriors. If they do a wonderful job of representing your brand and create loyal, dedicated clients – create your brand story around them, their attitudes, and their accomplishments. Focus on answering questions like:
- How do our employees exemplify our brand?
- What actions or attitudes do our clients rave about?
- What positive feedback on employees have clients provided?
- Why types of behaviors do our brand promote?
- Who is our ideal employee and how do they represent the company?
Just like focusing on the founders, featuring your employees puts a human face on your organization. You are no longer a software company providing solutions to healthcare companies, you are a close partner who evaluates market challenges and provides customized solutions and a friendly face.
Your brand story
When it comes to B2B branding, your brand story is your chance to make a connection with your target audience and strengthen your relationship with your existing clients. It should not be an afterthought. It should be your answer to “Why should we work with you over company X?” Use your brand story to attract, engage, and compel. Be genuine and craft a brand story that your target market wants to read.
This article was written by Jeremy Durant from Business2Community
Following is some suggestions for how to create Social Media Schedule for your business:
Twice Daily in the Morning and Afternoon
- Check Twitter via a program like HootSuite. Respond when necessary. Follow the @replies that make sense.
- Check LinkedIn. Reply to emails and comments when appropriate.
- Scan Twitter followers for relevant conversations to join.
- Check your business’s Facebook Page for questions and respond when necessary.
- Scan Google Alerts for brand and company mentions. Respond as appropriate.
Weekly or on Weekends
- Build Twitter Lists to better organize ongoing discussions and special interest groups. Set up saved searches in Hootsuite to find out if people are talking about you or your company.
- Scan LinkedIn questions from network connections and respond when appropriate.
- Catch up on LinkedIn discussions. Add to discussion when appropriate.
- Send LinkedIn invitations to connect with clients when beginning a new assignment.
- Ask for LinkedIn recommendation after successfully completing a project or engagement.
- Add new content to Facebook like videos or photos.
- Think of ways to repurpose this content and energy to reach a larger audience with the social networking gospel.
- Keep an eye open for new social networking venues, tools, and functionality that will make the social networking experience more enjoyable and easier to traverse.
- Identify new social networking influencers and build relationships where appropriate.
Through the Week
- Mondays: Schedule tweets through HootSuite to go out three times per day at regular intervals.
- Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: Join one hot trend conversation on Twitter, if appropriate, and add new content to Facebook (new items you are selling, photos, discounts and other promotions).
- Tuesdays and Thursdays: Respond to blog comments.
- Fridays: Check traffic at your blog or website.
Obviously, your daily social networking to-do list will be much different, given your available time and commitments. Just be sure to make the schedule livable. If it’s not working, change it. Keep making modifications until it works for you.
Plus a few tips from Facebook on how to create engaging content:
a) Find your voice
- Be conversational, personal, and authentic. If you are an individual, take the time to post directly. And if your Page is for an organization, find a first-person voice that is personal, not promotional.
- Use a first person voice in your posts.
- Build an online personality. Engage your supporters by highlighting one aspect of your personality (e.g. witty or inquisitive) or be casual like you are with friends.
- Share candid, personal stories, like pictures of you hanging out with your friends and family, or updates from members of your organization’s team.
b) Create a conversation
- Build a dialogue with your community on your Page.
- Call people to action by asking questions in your status updates and urging people to post or comment.
- Use the Questions app to poll your community and get instant feedback.
- Respond to the comments – people will be thrilled to know that you are listening.
- Make your supporters the stars. If someone posts something great on your Page, repost it, thank them and respond personally.
c) Offer a rich experience
- Bring your story to life with rich content that captures your message and engages your audience.
- Use photos and videos. Visuals are always more compelling than text.
- Create Facebook Events to highlight appearances or campaigns. Encourage your audience to attend and invite their friends.
- Share links to breaking news, important events, and entertaining videos.
- Celebrate your milestones. For example, once you reach a significant number of Likes, post a video thanking your audience and encouraging them to share your Page with their friends.
d) Share exclusive content
- Post items on Facebook that people can’t find anywhere else.Some tips:
- Take the time to post directly to your Facebook Page; re-posting content or auto- posting from other sources can be a turn-off.
- Schedule regular posts on specific topics, like a weekly highlight on the “fan of the week”
- Bring your community behind the scenes – post pictures back stage at an event or give your audience a sneak peek on a new project.
- Connect with niche groups of supporters. Use the targeted publishing feature to share relevant posts with people in a specific location or who speak a certain language.
(portions of above taken from Facebook’s guide to marketing, 2011)