Whether you are a blogger, an aspiring content creator, a part-time influencer, a brand, or just someone who wants to stand apart on the interweb, ensuring a strong social media brand is an important step. All the beautiful images and trendy OOTDs will amount to nothing in the long run, if you do not manage to cultivate what I like to refer to as your ‘social media personality’.
I have been creating content and working with brands on their social media strategy for a couple of years now, and I’ve noticed that the most successful accounts, in terms of engagement, are those with a strong brand presence. So, for all social media enthusiasts out there, here’s a quick guide on how to build a strong social media brand for yourself.
Create a unique social media personality
Just like you, as a person, have a personality, your account needs to have a personality as well, which needs to resonate with your followers. Establish the kind of personality you’d like to be perceived as on your digital platforms. Would you like a cool, casual vibe? Or take on a more mature formal/corporate tone? Or something more teenybopper? Once you choose a social media personality, it should automatically reflect in your choice of images, colours, captions, choice of words, etc. Simply put, you need to look at your social media account as a living person with personality traits, quirks, and style of expression.
Avoid being a jack of all trades
When I started my career 17 years ago in traditional journalism, on the first day on the job, my editor-in-chief said something that resonates with me to this day. “Find a subject that interests you and become so well-versed with it that you can cover it with conviction,” she’d said. “You will become an authority in your subject.”
Whether it is food, street style, high fashion, DIY, tech, backpack travel, or luxury, establish yourself as a strong authority on the subject. Sure, you are free to talk about/cover a gamut of subjects, but be partial to a few, where you are an expert. People will thus follow you/your brand for this reason, to know your opinion on different topics/products in that particular domain.
Steer clear of covering everything. A classic example is most content creators calling themselves lifestyle bloggers and then covering everything under the sun. It is important to find a suitable niche, eg, premium lifestyle, travel lifestyle, fitness and wellness lifestyle or beauty.
Interact with your community
One thing that will see you through in the long term and establish you as a strong brand is your skill to build a community. The beauty of social media is that it is an interactive platform, which puts engagement at the fore. Therefore, it is important to interact with your followers. Don’t be inaccessible, don’t leave comments unanswered. As a content creator, the rule of thumb is that you must encourage conversations around your product/place/experience.
Extracting opinions from your community is a great bonus. Note that respectfully expressed negative comments or criticism is part of an honest engagement and must be addressed in a dignified way. Non-abusive negative comments must never be muffled. Respond to every comment and enquiry that comes your way.
Balance out the paid and unpaid
This point is particularly pertinent for content creators who rely on brand endorsements, collaborations, and partnerships to generate income. While there is no denying that this is indeed your full-time profession and that you have bills to pay, you need to balance what I refer to as ‘paid’ and ‘editorial’ content. The latter is a reflection of your editorial discretion, your sense of curation, and will eventually lead to building up your credibility. While readers and followers will occasionally buy into some of your endorsements and recommendations, your feed should not look like a giant sales pitch. Balance it out with content that actually adds value to your followers’ time and educates them.
Similarly, for brands on social media, do not always try the hard sell approach. Try to create a feed that reflects a certain lifestyle. The followers will appreciate you for it, and your credibility will increase.
All images: Courtesy Getty