How to Use Social Media Marketing to Shape Brand Perception

Pinterest screenshot from Mannequin Mall, displaying diverse fashion trends and settings.

Like it or not, your brand’s social media footprint speaks volumes. Every tweet, post, and story you share, and every like, share, comment, or DM you receive, defines how your audience perceives you. It’s all about the image you’re crafting – the message you’re sending. Even if you haven’t strategized every move, your audience is piecing together a story about your brand with each digital interaction. Nearly seven out of ten consumers follow brands on social media to keep tabs on new products or services. That’s a huge incentive to leverage this aspect of social media. If you’ve been holding back, now’s the time to jump into the game. Neglect your online presence, and you risk letting others craft your brand story. But embrace the challenge, and you get to be the author of your brand’s legacy. Now, let’s explore how you can utilize social media marketing effectively to craft a strong and positive brand perception.

Harness the Power of Community

Nothing stands out more than genuine connections. One of the most powerful ways to foster these connections is by creating a vibrant online community around a topic that resonates with your brand’s values and mission. This is more than simply promoting your products or services. It’s about cultivating a space where conversations flow, insights are shared, and real relationships are built. Why is this so important? A well-managed community on social media becomes a reflection of your brand’s ethos. If the community thrives as a helpful, respectful, and engaging space, these qualities inevitably get linked with your brand. People start to associate the positive experiences they have within the community with your brand itself. The key lies in ensuring that the environment remains healthy, free from toxicity, and focuses on genuine help and camaraderie. Now, let’s bring this idea to life with a tangible example. Aura, an Amazon repricer software, took the concept of community and ran with it. They created a dedicated Facebook group where showcasing their software features takes a secondary stage. The primary focus of this community revolves around helping members thrive in the competitive Amazon seller environment. Yes, their product plays a role in the discussions, but the group isn’t a sales pitch forum. It’s an ecosystem where seasoned sellers share their expertise, newcomers seek advice, and everyone benefits from collective wisdom. This way, Aura demonstrates that when a brand invests in fostering community growth over direct sales, it cultivates trust, loyalty, and lasting brand affinity. Screenshot of Aura's Facebook group dedicated to Amazon FBA wholesale software, emphasizing community building and support. Source: facebook.com

Align Yourself with Industry Trends

Everything digital evolves with such speed that staying updated with industry trends isn’t just recommended – it’s essential. But here’s the next-level move: don’t only keep pace with trends; become a beacon for them. Your brand’s social media shouldn’t merely be a reflection of what’s in vogue. It should be the go-to place for anyone looking to catch the next wave. This matters because being a trendsetter or an early adopter positions your brand as a thought leader. When you consistently provide content that’s ahead of the curve, your audience will come to associate your brand with innovation and foresight. So, don’t only share what’s hot but curate and present things in a way that adds value, sparks conversations and inspires your followers. As your brand’s reputation for trendspotting grows, so does the trust and authority you hold in your industry. Let’s turn our attention to a brand that’s acing this approach. Mannequin Mall isn’t just another fashion mannequin retailer. They’ve elevated their game on Pinterest. Instead of just showcasing their products, they’re painting a larger picture (quite literally). Their Pinterest page is a visual tapestry of their mannequins styled impeccably, captured in diverse settings that mirror current fashion and design aesthetics. By doing so, they’re not only showcasing their products. They’re setting trends, influencing design choices, and inspiring followers. Through curated pins, Mannequin Mall solidifies its place as a fashion-forward brand that has its finger firmly on the pulse of the industry. Pinterest screenshot from Mannequin Mall, displaying diverse fashion trends and settings. Source: pinterest.com

Leverage Real Customer Questions for Content

“What content should we post next?” is a common challenge of so many brands. But the solution may be closer than you think. Instead of casting wide nets in brainstorming sessions, look in-house, specifically towards your sales and support teams. They’re the ones on the frontline, interacting with customers and hearing their concerns, questions, and feedback firsthand. Why is this strategy so effective? Direct customer queries offer a goldmine of content ideas that are both relevant and valuable. Creating content based on these questions does two crucial things:

  1. It provides direct solutions to existing customers, reinforcing the idea that your brand is attentive and committed to their needs even after a sale.
  2. It builds trust with potential customers. When they see you addressing common issues proactively, it signals that your brand is invested in offering comprehensive support and guidance.

Bay Alarm Medical, a prominent name in medical alert systems, is a brand that has mastered this technique. This company doesn’t just talk about its products’ features. They dive into real-world application and setup. A shining example is their “How Do You Install A Lock Box?” YouTube video. Instead of leaving customers to grapple with installation concerns, they proactively created content to guide them through the process. The result is a video that both assists current users and showcases the brand’s dedication to ensuring a smooth experience for potential customers as well. How Do You Install A Lock Box? Source: youtube.com

Help Customers Get the Most Out of Their Purchases

Beyond the sale lies a vast realm of opportunity. It’s an arena where brands can strengthen bonds, build trust, and enhance their value proposition. It can all be done by guiding customers in their quest to extract maximum value and enjoyment from their purchases. This approach is a clear winner because helping customers fully utilize their purchases achieves several things:

  1. It underscores your brand’s commitment to long-term customer satisfaction, not just short-term sales.
  2. It fosters goodwill. When customers feel they’re getting more value from a product, their perception of the brand improves.
  3. It bolsters customer loyalty. When people believe a brand is continuously offering them value, they’re more likely to stick around and even become brand ambassadors.
  4. Lastly, it enhances customer lifetime value. Happy, loyal customers often lead to repeat sales and referrals.

Now, let’s spotlight a brand exemplifying this approach. FOCL, operating in the plant-based wellness solutions arena, doesn’t stop at selling its products. They inspire customers with innovative ways to incorporate them into daily life. A striking example is their Instagram post, which features a video of one of their products being whipped into an intriguing recipe. With this, FOCL proves they’re not just about consumption but about enjoyment, creativity, and lifestyle too. By sharing such content, they manage to both educate and entice, turning ordinary users into passionate advocates. Instagram post by FOCL showing a video on maximizing product usage. Source: instagram.com

Be There When Your Customers Reach Out

Social media has become synonymous with instant communication. Customers have learned to use this benefit to the fullest, and now 63% of them expect swift responses from the brands they use. When they have a question, a concern, or even a compliment, they find it easiest to turn to the brand’s social media profile because it’s immediate and personal. By being present and responsive on these platforms, you’re sending a clear message: you value and prioritize your customers. So, how can you master this side of social media?

  1. Dedicate resources. Ensure you have a team or individual solely focused on monitoring social media queries. Don’t let comments or questions go unnoticed.
  2. Always be punctual. A quick response, even if it’s just to say “We’re looking into it,” can make a world of difference.
  3. Prioritize empathy over script. Personalized responses that address specific concerns will always fare better than generic, scripted ones.
  4. Utilize direct messaging. For issues that require more detailed attention or privacy, transition the conversation to DMs.
  5. Share solutions publicly. If a question or problem is common, addressing it publicly can prevent repeat queries and show other customers you’re proactive.
  6. Have a consistent brand voice. Ensure that the tone and manner of responses align with your brand’s personality. Even in support scenarios, branding matters.

A standout in this aspect is none other than Spotify. This music streaming giant, with its millions of global users, recognizes the need for dedicated support. They’ve set up a special Twitter support profile that’s separate from their main account. But this profile doesn’t exist only to troubleshoot. It actively provides followers with tips to enhance their app experience. From tech glitches to payment issues, they handle it all, showcasing their commitment to user satisfaction. By addressing issues publicly and efficiently, Spotify reinforces its reputation as a brand that listens, cares, and acts. Twitter screenshot showing a customer reaching out to Spotify and receiving a prompt response. Source: twitter.com

Create Smart Influencer Partnerships to Generate Trust

Consumers often look to those they admire for purchasing decisions. Enter influencers: real people who’ve garnered popularity and built communities around their authentic narratives.  Partnering with influencers is more about than simple advertising. It’s about leveraging that trust. This sentiment resonates for several reasons:

  • Relatability Influencers, compared to traditional celebrities, often have a grounded, everyday appeal. Their followers see parts of their own lives reflected in these influencers’ stories.
  • Authentic Endorsement A product recommendation from a trusted influencer can be perceived as a friend’s advice rather than a brand’s sales pitch.
  • Targeted Reach Influencers cater to niche audiences. Collaborating with the right influencer ensures your product is showcased to a genuinely interested demographic.

Now, if you wish to nail the perfect influencer partnerships, try the following:

  1. Align with values. Partner with influencers whose values and aesthetics resonate with your brand.
  2. Go beyond numbers. Don’t just focus on follower count. Engagement rates and audience interaction are equally crucial.
  3. Encourage authenticity. Allow influencers the creative freedom to present your product in a manner that’s genuine to their style.
  4. Build long-term relationships. Instead of one-off promotions, consider long-term collaborations for sustained and consistent brand visibility.
  5. Monitor and engage. Keep an eye on the content being produced. Engage with it to show the influencer and their audience that the partnership is valued.

An exemplary brand in this domain is CLUSE. This chic watch and jewelry brand knows the power of influencer collaboration. They don’t partner with any influencer but rather choose those who seamlessly align with their brand aesthetic. A quick scroll through their Instagram profile reveals influencers, renowned in their circles, wearing CLUSE pieces. These people show the product and weave the brand into lifestyle narratives that their target audience aspires to. This strategic partnership approach elevates CLUSE from being yet another accessory brand to one that resonates, relates, and remains top-of-mind. Instagram post by CLUSE featuring influencer partnerships to promote their watch and jewelry brand. Source: instagram.com

Final Thoughts

Harnessing the potential of social media for brand perception is a strategic necessity. Each step described in the tactics above plays a pivotal role in shaping how consumers view your brand. In times when impressions form in split seconds, it’s crucial to consistently and authentically communicate your brand’s value and ethos. By integrating these strategies into your social media marketing arsenal, you position your brand for more visibility, lasting trust, and undying loyalty in the ocean of competition.