Branding is an essential part of any business. It’s what brings your company to life and attracts your target audience. Branding is the personality that makes people go beyond liking your business to loving it. If your brand resonates with your target audience, then you’ll have a loyal following.

Unfortunately, creating a brand isn’t the easiest task and most business owners are too busy focusing on their products, logistics, customer service and their bottom line to begin giving thought to their brand.

So, how can you turn your business into a brand that will connect with your audience and help you build a lasting connection with them? Here are the first steps every business should take to begin carving out their brand identity.

Know your audience.

Who is your target customer? Before you make your social media accounts or think about your first post, you have to know who you’ll be speaking to. Otherwise you won’t be able to deliver the content that your audience will actually respond to.

So, think of your best customers or think of a demographic that you want to start bringing into your business. Are they 30 something home owners in the suburbs? Are they 18-22 year olds who live in a major city and ride the subway? The more targeted you can make your audience the better. People want to feel like they’re being spoken to directly and that their individual needs are being met. If you cast too wide a net, you run the risk of no one feeling connected with and deserting your best audiences.

Craft your brand’s persona and message accordingly.

Now that you know your audience, it’s time to start creating your messaging in order to resonate with them. The easiest way to accomplish this is to start doing research on the brands that your target audience is already interacting with on social media and monitor those brand’s social media accounts.

Look and see which posts get the most activity and what they could be doing better. Leverage the time and effort that other businesses have already spent on their social media strategy to get a jumpstart on your own.

Share stuff that resonates with your audience. 

Once you’ve found your audience and know what they respond to, it’s time to start creating your posts and gathering content to share with them. This is the “social” aspect of social media.

Now not every post that you send out has to be focused on your products or business. In fact, solely focusing your posts on what you’re doing or selling can be detrimental. You simply want to share relevant, interesting or viral content from around the web that you genuinely think your audience will appreciate and engage with. This way your audience will value your posts and opinions so when you do post a product, offer or service they’ll be more likely to positively respond to it.

Tap into your audience’s passions.

Customers want to know that the businesses they’re interacting with have a conscience and share their charitable values. A great way to instantly boost your brand while helping good causes is to partner with a local charity that your audience feels passionately about. Whether it’s abused or abandoned animals, breast cancer awareness, injured military members or feeding the hungry, supporting charities and promoting your brand can be done all at once on social media.

Try running a campaign where for every share your post gets that raises awareness for your charity, you’ll donate $1 to that charity. This not only allows people to support a charity, it gives you great exposure while showing your potential customers that you share their values and are active in the community.

Have FUN!

Social media should be fun. Not only is social media an effective communication mechanism but it’s a form of entertainment. Adding an element of humor, lightheartedness and levity to your timeline will humanize your brand and feed into the viral nature of social media that makes it so powerful. Don’t take all of your posts too seriously and remember to keep your audience smiling. Like the old sales motto goes, “if they’re laughing, they’re buying”.

Social media is an undeniable tool and has to be a part of any brand or business strategy. It’s simply too widely used to ignore and customers have begun to expect that any business they plan on making a purchase with be on social media. It may seem overwhelming at first to begin integrating social media into your business, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get. Before long you’ll be an expert on your audience, engaging like never before and growing your business organically.

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