Gaining a following and building a brand on social media can be troublesome for new start-ups but with a little guidance, you can begin to brand yourself effectively. From finding the right channels to finding the right content, this guide will help you understand the positives and negatives of social media branding.

Identify Your Target Audience

The first and most important thing you have to do when setting up social media accounts for your business is to figure out who your target audience are. If you want to brand your social media effectively, you need it to resonate with potential customers. You can do this by looking at your original business plan or if you have the time and money, by testing the waters and talking to would-be customers.

You can also look at what more established businesses (similar to your own) are doing with their social channels. This isn’t spying because you aren’t in competition with them, it’s simply another learning tool for your start-up.

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Where Should I Be Posting?

With so many different social media sites and apps to take advantage of, choosing which ones to post on can be a real nightmare for start-ups. As a small business, you’ll want to pick no more than three different places to start building your brand. Whilst all social media has its advantages, you wont want to overload yourself with things to do, so keeping it simple is best.

When deciding what sites are going to be best for building your specific brand, you will once again want to look at your target audience. Their age, interests and lifestyle choices should influence what sites you choose. If your business has more of a focus on the visual, you’ll want to build you brand on channels such as Instagram and Pinterest. For those selling services, try to turn your attention to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Posting Timetable

One mistake that many small businesses make is to post to social media too often. It’s important to post regularly to let people know who you are and build your brand effectively, but post too often and you will turn people away. For maximum brand awareness that isn’t going to drive users away, post no more than 5 times a week on Facebook and Instagram and around 3 times a day on Twitter.

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Interact With Your Followers

If you want to build a fun, down to earth brand then you MUST interact with people on social media. Whether the comments are positive or negative, taking to time to reply to your followers will say a lot about who you are.

Another important thing to remember is that you need to create content that is worth interacting with. Simply posting updates will not get you very far; you need to get your followers talking. You’re more likely to get a response if you use colloquial language in your posts because it breaks down the walls between company and customer.

Sites such as Facebook actually make it more difficult for start-ups to get noticed, as they use an algorithm called EdgeRank which actually stops people from seeing your posts if they aren’t interacting with them. So as a small start-up, you’ll need to figure out the best ways to get around this.

Beware Of Duplicate Posting

Think you are saving time posting the same information to all of your social media pages? Then you need to think again. Duplicate posting can be incredibly damaging to your brand because many potential customers are likely to be follow all of your accounts, not just one. People want to see variation in their feeds and duplicate material comes across as boring, unprofessional and may force people to switch off.