3 Ways to Grow Your Brand

Do you want a million followers? Then go buy some. Nothing will change.

Do you want an actively growing, engaged audience that invests into the growth of your brand? Then maybe there are a few ideas for you below.

 

1. Share Meaningful Content

Don’t post for the sake of posting. Your brand is not a link sharing machine.

Is it okay to share some articles based on what your brand does? Of course! Should it be the majority of your published posts on SoMe? Probably not. Shared content can dilute engagement in small brands. If you don’t care about bringing your brand expertise to the table, why should your followers care about you?

Lots of people swear by the 5:3:2 rule, where 50% of your content is curated, 30% is created and 20% is humanising the brand. These three types of posting are still important, but it depends a lot on your audience and what drives engagement.

For a growth page, pushing out link after link can be counterintuitive to your brand. To take an example, on a Facebook page I managed, we prioritised posting irregular original content with high audience value propositions, with curated content kept to a minimum. The organic results:

  • Engagement held steady at about 3% (likes, comments and shares)
  • Follower count growth up to around 7% month-to-month
  • Sales opportunity engagement blew up, with around a 1% incoming contact count on each post

When it was decided to bring in more curated content — links, partnerships, news, all three metrics dropped significantly.

 

Why?

For me, pushing out meaningful content (preferably original) shows that you’re connecting to your audience with more effort. On FB, people are being inundated by the same content again and again. It’s boring, doesn’t stand out on the feed and certainly doesn’t work in groups, where audiences are predisposed to wanting messaging that connects with their interest. Side Note: the feed is dying, algorithms are increasingly segmenting your feed based on your habits and interests, until you’re in a very niche bubble — bad for organic reach.

This is why the engagement goes up, the audience reach increases and the interest in your brand remains strong, even with fewer posts.

So bring content to the table which shows your audience that you are the best source of expertise in your industry. And do it by giving them content that works for their JTBD.

You’ll find a sweet spot that works for your audience, but sticking religiously to the 5:3:2 rule is not the answer.

Look at the metrics, see where your strengths lie from your audience’s perspective and focus on delivering that content. Then look at the metrics again, learn from the results and build your content strategy around what works!

 

2. Engage with Fervour

Whether you engage as a brand, as people who are part of the brand, or a little of both, keep your engagement strong.

Let’s take a look at the engagement habits on LinkedIn. It has one of the most interesting feeds (the default “Relevant” value) because posts that appear on it go through an algorithm first, and then through human curation. It’s a little like a mix of Reddit and Facebook that way.

LinkedIn Algorithm Chart Image - Courtesy of Brandwatch

LinkedIn Algorithm Chart. Source: Brandwatch

There are issues with the LinkedIn algorithm; the fact that it tends to downgrade posts with external links in them is an interesting one.

The solution for this is putting your external links in the comments. And an argument can be made that this is better. The CTA “Link in Comments” pulls your audience from the copy to the link — it’s an extra micro-investment in your brand. Might not be much to think about, but in terms of engagement it’s huge.

It takes effort to go to the comments, so this “double opt-in” shows a greater level of intent when it comes to your clickthroughs.

 

Engage with Shares

Another engagement practise being used on LinkedIn is share commenting. Every time a person shares the post, the brand posts a comment on their share, thanking them for the share. The return is two-fold:

  1. You’re showing appreciation to your first-hand audience, building an extra level of connection in your brand-user relationship.
  2. This is a way of reaching out to the audience that was shared with. Showing that you will engage with them as well. It’s a feel good factor – but can make a huge difference in brand perception.

Again, the most important takeaway from any of this is experimentation based on metrics. Try the strategy for a while, look at your metrics; if it works, stay with it. If not, why not? Find out and adjust accordingly.

 

3. Build Brand Personality

You could be using every brand employee as an ambassador. Or maybe your messaging comes from the username which is “The Brand”. It could be a mix of both.

Either way, you need a brand personality. As representatives of your brand, employees can use the brand personality guideline to temper their own online personality. Obviously, their own should shine through — it’s what makes them who they are.

Creating a brand personality is a process, it will grow and evolve over time, but it’s the core that guides your copy, messaging, style of imagery, branding — everything that makes your brand, your brand.

A lot of this will reflect on the culture built by the people around your brand, the industry, how they want to be seen. You must find a style which resonates with your brand and with your audience. One of my favourite examples, Wendy’s, has a style which works for them. And they’re famous for it.

They know when to be sassy…

Brand Persona - Wendys Being Sassy - Image

Source: Twitter

How to address complaints…

Brand Persona - Wendys Dealing with Complaints - Image

Source: Twitter

And how to take a compliment…

Brand Persona - Wendys Being Humble - Image

Source: Twitter

It’s a carefully crafted persona that gives customers a safe space where they can address their issues, while also bringing some real entertainment into their engagement.

From SoMe engagement to advertising copy. From blogs too banners. In videos and pictures. Develop the personality your brand needs for its audience and for itself. Grow and mature it as the brand grows and matures.

Your brand is a living being, develop it as one. It shows your audience the people behind the logo.

 

TL;DR

    1. Post content that drives audience engagement. Growth stems from engagement. Use metrics to guide you.
    2. Engage with your followers and their networks. Don’t be just another megaphone.
    3. Develop a consistent voice and brand personality. Let it grow and mature as your brand grows and matures.
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