You cannot wait for your brand to become bigger than your competitors’. Nobody goes down without a fight in the marketing world, especially not those who’ve already achieved something. If you want to steal your competition’s market share, you need to join the battle.
And what better battlefield you have other than social media?
You’ll be fighting your competitors for your niche audience’s attention, and this audience practically lives on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and similar sites. Social media can help you get quick brand recognition and build a loyal following in no time. But there’s a catch.
If you want to beat your fierce rivals, you must play smart.
As the old adage goes, you must keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
By studying how these brands keep their social media audience engaged, you’ll be able to learn the best maneuvers and use them to your advantage.
The following are the most popular social media branding strategies you can steal from your strongest competitors.
5 Social Media Branding Strategies
1. Competitive Social Media Targeting
Audience targeting can make or break your branding efforts. But to say that this practice is complex would be an understatement. Audience targeting is an entire philosophy of defining, discovering, and approaching the right crowds at the most opportune moment.
When it comes to social media, this is even more important.
Without a clearly defined target audience, you’re throwing away your time and money. You may be addressing people on Twitter without knowing that your audience is on Pinterest, for example. So until you have a clear definition, you should stick to Facebook.
Catering to virtually all demographics, Facebook is a good place to kick off your branding strategy. If you want to learn how to target your audience on Facebook, here’s a long way around. But if you’re in a hurry, you can use this simple and dirty targeting trick:
Every time you see a Facebook ad from your competitor on News Feed, select the three dots at the top right corner and click on “Why am I seeing this?”. Facebook will provide you with an overview of your competitor’s target group, which you can use yourself.
Also, Facebook ads allow you to target users based on other brands they follow and like. This is called interest-based targeting. Instead of adding generic keywords and phrases, you can simply type in your competitor’s name and start stealing their loyal audience.
When it comes to social media branding, a quiz may be the most versatile tool available to marketers today. It’s also easier to create a quiz using a basic quiz maker than to write a competitive article. It’s affordable and it pays off, thanks to quizzes’ potential for going viral.
You can use quizzes to boost engagement and generate buzz.
In both cases, your brand name gets shares.
Quizzes can help you improve your online visibility with SEO backlinks or get a better understanding of your audience. They can measure your customer satisfaction rates, for instance. Or you can use them to ask social media users what they think about your brand.
Pour this insight into your LMS software and use it to hone your strategy.
3. Expanding Customer Service to Social
Social media is becoming the backbone of online consumerism, in every sense of the word. It helps consumers browse products and services, ask honest recommendations from their friends, and even shop without having to leave the site and shift tabs.
It’s only natural that they should be able to contact your brand on social too.
In fact, you can hardly succeed in building a competitive brand without providing social media-based customer service. For this, you need a social listening tool, a chatbot solution, and a quick survey maker to help you measure performance rates.
For up-and-coming brands, social media is a two-edged sword. It can make your posts go viral, thus earning you global recognition, but it can also spread negative opinions about your brand much faster than before. And negative feedback can really hurt you.
This is why you need a social listening tool.
These tools enable you to scan social media for brand mentions and address negative feedback before they can compromise your integrity. 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from their friends, so you need to be quick.
With quizzes, surveys, and other social media branding techniques, you can feel the pulse of your audience opinions and allow them to express how they feel about your brand.
Apart from providing quick solutions, you should also be ready to engage your customers on social media. Even if just to reply to their thank you note or answering a basic question that they posed.
4. Riding the Coattails of Trendy Topics
Social is still mainly about content, as is brand building.
You cannot but include content marketing into your branding strategy. The purpose of this technique, of course, is to generate likes and shares across social media. While great content builds trust with your audience, viral content conveys your message throughout the world.
And as a brand, you need both trust and visibility.
Like audience targeting, content marketing is too broad a subject to be explored in depth here. But we can take a look at your competitors’ posts and establish some good social media practices. It’s April 2019 and everyone’s writing about Game of Thrones’ final season.
Even brands that have nothing to do with TV entertainment and epic fantasy are leveraging the GOT hashtag by finding a way to connect this hot subject to their products and services. This is a great way to ride the coattails of a relevant and trending social media topic.
But you need to tread carefully here, and here’s why:
Another thing your competitors are doing is resharing their most successful posts.
They are using marketing automation tools and LMS software to track the engagement rates on their posts, identify the most popular ones, use them as a template for fresh content, and archive them for later use. And for this, you always need relevant evergreen content.
If you’re leveraging current buzz, make sure that you’re doing that in a way that makes your content reusable on social media even after the buzz settles down. For instance, with Game of Thrones, you can’t go wrong. People from all demographics will talk about GOT for years.
5. Influencer Marketing & User Generated Content
There are two other things that differentiate strong brands from average ones:
Influencer marketing and user-generated content.
We’ve already talked about how 88% of consumers trust online reviews to guide their purchasing decisions. Not only do consumers perceive user-generated content as a recommendation from a friend, but it’s also easier for them to buy a brand experience when they see it in action.
What these branding strategies have in common is their trust-building potential. The bigger and louder your brand is, the more suspicious your consumers will be. You need to convince them that what you’re offering is authentic and made with their interest in mind.
Influencer marketing and UG content are the most effective and straightforward social media branding techniques you can employ. Scratch beneath the surface of branding on Instagram and Facebook, and you’ll see that every single successful brand is using them.
This pretty much wraps up the most competitive social media branding strategies.
Of course, every niche has its own branding tricks that are carefully tailored to its specific audience. But these five techniques are universal. They work on every social media channel, in every industry, and regardless of what makes your target audience tick.
Use them against your competitors to make your brand bigger, stronger, and faster.
Author Bio: Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system & eLearning authoring tools – currently associated with ProProfs Training Maker.
Deepti is a senior content writer with AeroLeads. She spends a lot of time brainstorming ideas and writing marketing and sales content. She also has a knack for writing and reading about politics and prevalent social issues and regularly pens letters to the Editor of The Hindu newspaper. When she is not working, you’ll find her socializing with friends or binge-watching Netflix. (And devouring sushi).