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How social media builds brands (but only if you get it right)

Adobe logo Adobe 18/10/2019
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Social media has changed the way businesses work, allowing for direct engagement with users, real-time news updates and a gorgeous curation of images in one place to help establish brand identity – 95% of 18-34-year-olds follow a brand via social media (according to Marketing Sherpa). However, like any skill, using social media to build and grow your brand takes practice and savvy – which is why we’ve spoken to designers and marketeers for their top tips on how to nail your social presence. 

One key factor you’ll definitely need? The right software. Adobe Creative Cloud for Teams lets you organise your assets so they’re accessible from any device (you’ll also get 100GB cloud storage per license), plus a library of royalty-free Adobe Stock images at your fingertips. You can also be assured of brand consistency across all touchpoints – images, colours, text styles – key to building an instantly recognisable, consistent and authentic online presence, as well as one that stands out from the competition.

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Consider what you do, not just what you say

“Time is becoming the most scarce resource in our daily lives and most people would prefer not to waste it with intrusive promotional messages from brands,” explains Amy Luca, CEO of creative brandtech influencer service, theAmplify. She advises brands looking to build a social media presence to consider what they ‘do’ for the people they are trying to reach, not just what they want to ‘say’. 

“What's the value exchange? People give brands the gift of their time and attention. Don't squander it. Respect it. The brands that are building true and authentic social media presences are those that demonstrate their brand 'do' in a real and tangible way.”

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Embrace authenticity – and creativity

There is so much activity and congestion on social media – setting yourself apart from the crowd and getting noticed is critical to a brand’s success. London-based 3D illustrator and designer, Design Lad, knows just how to do that with his eye-catching and colourful Instagram feed.

“People follow social media accounts to be motivated, inspired and ultimately entertained. If you just promote and aren’t doing it in a creative and genuine way, then you aren’t giving an insight to your personality, which is a huge factor in gaining a presence online,” he tells Yahoo UK.

“My feed is heavily based on my personal work, which is playful, grabs attention, and aims to entertain. I get a much higher engagement rate this way, which then leads to an increase in followers, and more exposure to brands that want to work with me.”

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Play to your strengths

As social media specialist, Alfie Green, says: “Don’t try to be cool if you’re not! There’s nothing worse than a legal firm trying to crack jokes on social media. Stick to your industry and think about what your audience would expect your brand to say and speak like.”

He stresses that brands should do their research and know about their audience interests and other competitor followers to ensure they’re on-message. He also highlights the importance of engaging with followers, which includes swift customer service and replies and promoting your followers’ interests, too – to help grow your voice and engage followers, turning them into customers.

Also, don’t try to work a trend just because it’s there: “If you are going to jump onto current trends, make sure they’re relevant to your audience. If your customers or followers are all cake fans, it makes sense to talk about The Great British Bake Off. Keep an eye on trending topics, what others are talking about and act in the moment. If it’s days later you’re probably too late to join the conversation.”

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Tell them something they don’t know

“Social media has become a place where people go to get more information on a brand. People are turning to social media for reviews, deeper insights into a product or to see what a dish on a menu really looks like. Social media provides the most raw insights into a brand,” Hester Bates, head of brand strategy at global influencer marketing agency, Influencer, tells us.

“Brands should think about engaging creators to produce insightful content into their offering, which can be shared across both the creators' and the brand's channels.”

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Know your platforms

Not every social media platform is the same – and businesses need to know which ones will work for them. As Rohan Midha, managing director of leading creative influencer marketing agency  PMYB, explains: “Putting too much energy and resources into platforms that aren’t the right ones can be a mistake. YouTube might not be the most effective platform for you even if it has more users, so make sure the product fits with the platform and the creative idea you’ve come up with.” He also stresses that brands need to keep on top of new trends and not dismiss new platforms, like TikTok (which now has over 104 million American downloads and 1.2 billion downloads worldwide).

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