10 Steps to Effective Brand Building Online

Building your business just on performance-based advertising is almost as foolish as chasing after money and career without taking care of your physical and mental health. Though it might work for a while, the “repair costs” in the future will be enormously higher. Big e-commerce players understand this and are guarding their brands with their life. Small e-commerce businesses often disregard brand building though, justifying it with time/money restraints and low return on investment in the short term. We’ve put together a list of important steps to take!

Let’s look at one practical example

There are two fashion e-shops; the first one with a narrow product range, relatively small selection, and higher prices. The second one has a wide range of products of different brands. You might say, the second one to be more successful, but the opposite is the case.

Why? Because the first e-shop understood, that by making its products unique and offering something different, they can be more successful. Customers return organically and even without direct purchase intent. On the other hand, the second e-shop focused only on quantity; its customers are only interested in products, which lack any exceptionality. Therefore only customers with direct purchase intent (primarily from paid advertising campaigns and price comparison pages) visit the website and rarely return organically. 

Simply speaking: If you want to gain new customers (even using prospecting ads) profitably, it is essential for them to be coming back to you, and ideally through the least expensive options – direct and organic search or social media. The stronger brand you have, the higher the probability, that your customers will be returning to you without costing you any additional money on performance marketing or sale campaigns.

10 Simple Steps to Build a Powerful Brand on Social:

If you want to build a powerful brand, you need to use different marketing channels. One of the basic principles is, of course, online marketing and specifically social media marketing. Here are our 10 simple steps!

1. Analyse the competition

A closer look at the communication strategy of your competitors will not only help you find your style, but you can also learn from their mistakes and communication fails.

2. Establish your own, recognizable, style

Who wouldn’t recognize the funny black-and-white cartoon mouse, or blue thumbs up? Whether you like those brands’ communication strategies or not, you will recognize them, and that’s what matters! Choose a unifying element – color, font, a character or a specific communication language – thanks to which your potential customers will identify and remember you. Subliminal advertising plays a special role in the buyer’s decision-making process.

For our client Ocean48 we created a graphic design which corresponds with the client’s website. The aim was to create a unified graphic identity, which distinguished the individual posts by graphic elements while keeping everything connected using font and color.

3. Don’t try to be desperately original

There is a reason why people say, that most good things have already been created. Feel free to use proven, existing campaigns and ideas. Piggyback on global trends. The important part though is that you have to move the discussion forward. You have to add value, not just copy! 

4. Work with humor

Humor can spice up every marketing communication. However, just as with all the spices, you need to be very cautious with its use. Communication must always correspond with the type of your product/service, and it should always be appropriate for the target audience. 

5. Understand your customers and speak to them

A common mistake of many marketers is trying to sell a joke so hard that they entirely take it apart and present it in a way that makes the audience feel stupid. Beware of this, your fans want to figure the point out by themselves and aren’t interested in an oversimplified explanation. Furthermore, they don’t want to be sold all the time. First, try to entertain them and then casually offer them the product.

Communication for our client is based on puns and ambiguous terms connected with fish, marine and nautical topics. Here is an example of posts for an offline food festival event “Slavnosti moře” (Sea festival).

6. Don’t set up social media accounts, to keep them dormant

Someone told you that online and social media marketing is the way to go, so next to Facebook and Instagram account you also set up Youtube, Twitter and Snapchat accounts. You don’t know why you have all these channels and have no idea what to do with them. There is straightforward advice; don’t set up those accounts. Figure out who your target audience is, where you can reach it and be active on that platform. Expecting to make a breakthrough on Twitter with paint colors is as naïve as looking for your future significant other in a bar when you are a strict non-drinker and non-smoker. Concentrate just on those channels which make sense and use them to the fullest

Be creative and test all the different formats which the platform offers. Try new things and assess what your fans react to the best. Do not rest on your laurels though – the fact that your fans clicked like crazy when the emoji voting was on a roll, does not mean that you can replicate that forever. With time even the best idea becomes dull.

7. Post regularly and steadily, boost your posts

Regular communication is essential. It keeps your page and fans active, but also increases your engagement rate and – if your content is compelling enough – get you shared with a broader audience. In the time of decreasing organic reach, boosting posts is an essential part of every social media strategy. 

From our experience, we’ve drawn up a few rules: boost those posts which have organic potential, start boosting only when you reach the organic peak (that’s usually after 24 hours), try different kinds of optimization and don’t boost only to increase your reach. Even though the reach rate looks excellent in reports – because it’s the highest – it does not tell you anything. The fact that the post appeared in someone’s feed does not necessarily mean that the person saw it. The more important figure is the engagement rate.

8. Pamper your fans with first-grade customer care

Quality customer care is a decisive factor nowadays in picking a service, product or a brand. Communicate with your fans, like their comments/pictures, regularly answer their questions and use messenger or Instagram messages for communication. Learn the basics of crisis communication – you can’t hide or delete negative comments forever. Patiently answer questions and in case of haters, don’t be afraid of being appropriately assertive. If you have a distinctive language, you can also use that here. Ideally, your fans will start to use that language as well.

9. Be honest with your fans

No one is perfect, including you, so if you make any mistake or a misstep, acknowledge it. Your customers will appreciate it, and you will earn bonus points for being straight with them.

10. Build a community

Establish a relationship with your fans, show they aren’t just an avatar on the screen to you. Show interest in them and make them stand by you. If you do it right, you will recruit them as your advocates and eager ambassadors of your brand. One of the ways to do that is by creating a group for your fans, connected to your fan page. Presently, Facebook even supports creating such communities. That is why at the beginning of this year it launched the Community Leadership Circles to support such communities across the globe. 

Creating a functional community provides you with quite the benefits. Apart from building your PR and positive energy around your brand, you can also use it to test new product lines, content or creativity. Not to mention that you will have the opportunity to communicate with your customers directly, and you will get their objective and relevant feedback.

Love brand, that’s all it’s about!

A strong brand is the single most valuable thing you can have. Moreover, if your customers also love it, you have it all. A real love brand doesn’t sell products; it sells an idea and a social status. What could be cooler than putting on Louboutin shoes and packing your Mac into the Vuitton that’s hanging over your shoulder?

Having a love brand is undoubtedly the most significant unfair advantage you can get – not only can you have higher prices than your competitors for an extended period, but your brand can also, with a great deal of luck, become a synonym for a particular product. Everyone prefers to have a can of Coke to the dark soda with a coke flavor, don’t they?

Brand and performance aren’t two separate things. Every performance campaign must be in sync with the brand; it should be a part of the brand-building and, at the same time, the brand-building should be beneficial for sales, just from the long-term perspective. If we simplified it, one could say strong brand = long-term performance.

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