Who you are around your family is probably a little different than who you are around your significant other — and both are different than who you are alone, when you’re dancing in your underwear to Backstreet Boys.
But with your blogging career, you are only your brand: when you’re writing, when you’re designing your site, and especially when you’re on social media.
Social media is vital to any blogger’s success. Just as the great rivers of the world collect their strength from a bunch of creeks and streams, your social media presence is a collection of your individual channels creating a greater whole.
So how do you make the most of branding on social media? How do you put your best foot forward to attract new readers? How do you get those little streams to feed into a mighty river?
Below, we’ve outlined six great ways you can brand yourself on social media. Take them to heart and you’ll see more followers, more recognition, more engagement, and higher quality posts.
1. The same brand on every channel
Consistency is crucial in online marketing. If all of your online accounts “behave” differently, people will pick up on it, sometimes even unconsciously… and followers don’t want to figure out who you are every time they see you somewhere new.
When we say consistency, we mean any and all aspects of your online personality, such as:
- Tone of voice in your writing
- Subject matter, preferred topics, and areas of expertise
- Branding colors
- Slogan, catch phrase, sign off, etc.
- Logos or profile pictures
- Typography and fonts
- Visual style (black and white, images of flowers, etc.)
- Handle or username
Good branding inspires instant recognition.
Have you ever seen a commercial and know who its for, even before you see a logo or brand name? Big brands take years to develop that kind of recognition, but smaller brands, like SMBs and bloggers have to start somewhere.
Look familiar? Hej Doll travel and lifestyle blogger Jessica Doll understands the significance of repetition in marketing — same brand logo, same profile picture, same banner images.
While you don’t want to bore followers with the same content, repeating key assets like a profile picture is integral to fast-tracking brand recognition and improving how people perceive your brand.
2. A picture is worth 1000 words
If you’re looking for a quick and easy tip on how to improve your social media performance, use images.
It really is that simple: according to BuzzSumo, posts with pictures get 2.3x more engagement on Facebook and 1.5x more retweets on Twitter.
Of course, you can maximize these results with the right pictures. Echoing our first point, you want to choose a theme for your imagery consistent with your brand personality. If you run a floral blog, post pictures of flowers. If you run a gaming blog, maybe don’t post pictures of flowers.
Different audiences prefer different styles, too, but it may take some time to discover yours.
Don’t get discouraged; it’s largely an issue of trial-and-error at first. Experiment with different types of visuals — artistic photography, selfies, memes, inspirational quotes, etc. — and see which ones your target audience likes most.
For blogging, specifically, keep in mind which images are used when you share your articles. No matter how good the writing is, the picture is largely what determines whether or not new readers click. Keep social sharing in mind when you choose an article’s featured image.
Food bloggers generally understand the importance of pictures, but Aline Made adds a little artistry to her photos that goes above and beyond the average food pics online.
She adds flourishes like the flower petals and ample empty space in her photography — not to mention impeccably styled food — to make her social media stand out from other foodies.
3. Put the “social” in social media
For bloggers, the interactive aspects of social media may seem a bit foreign.
Blogs are a lot like lectures — you say your piece, and only occasionally people comment their response. Social media, though, is more like a conversation at a cocktail party, with lots of back-and-forth and multiple participants.
You want to lean into that interactivity — that’s the greatest advantage of social media.
By speaking directly with your followers, you develop a more personal bond. Even if your blog discloses your innermost secrets, there’s something about a two-way conversation that brings people together like no other.
But socializing on social media has its own distinct etiquette. Here’s some tried-and-true methods for improving your social media engagement:
- Always respond to comments, even if just to say “thanks.”
- Comment on posts from other people in your community.
- Follow the hashtags that are popular in your community to understand the kinds of posts your audience likes the most.
- Repost and share from other members of your community.
- Participate in relevant events and contests to meet more like-minded people.
- Attend real-life meetups to strengthen ties.
There’s a give-and-take to social media marketing, and accounts that only post self-promotions never develop a stable following.
Retweets, @ mentions, popular or event-specific hashtags… Wellness blogger and vlogger Marie Forleo understands how to participate in a community. While she also posts updates on herself and her blog, she knows the balance well, so her followers never feel like “customers.”
True, social media is a great marketing platform — but it’s not only a marketing platform and if you use it only for marketing, it will backfire. People on social media expect human interactions, even when they talk to an account from an incorporated brand.
What do we mean by “human interactions”? Well, for one thing, it starts with the story you tell…
4. What’s your Brand story?
What do you think of when you think of “Whole Foods?” Generic grocery store? Not likely.
Even if you don’t often shop there, you know from Whole Foods’ extensive marketing efforts that they emphasize healthy and organic foods, and position themselves as more socially conscious than other food-related brands.
How do you know that? Because they tell a successful brand story.
A “brand story” or “brand narrative” is just another technique for showing off the human side of your brand; albeit an effective technique.
Brand storytelling goes hand-and-hand with social media, in part because of that extra personal connection we mentioned above.
The types of things you post about will form your brand story. Over time, people begin to associate you with those topics. To further the Whole Foods example above, they post frequently about healthy eating tips.
But social media also lets you tell actual stories.
Especially for bloggers, who often post as themselves on their social media accounts, you can share personal accounts from your actual life. Nothing shows off your human side quite like those relatable, slice-of-life stories people on social media love so much.
If you’re a talented storyteller, you can also use more ambitious strategies, like prolonging a single story over different posts to keep readers coming back and “hook” new followers.
5. Quality gets the share
Yes, adding images to your posts will improve their performance but at the end of the day, it’s the quality of the content that determines whether people share it or ignore it.
The rule of thumb for internet marketing is “content is king,” but for bloggers, it’s also our livelihood.
A blogger is only as good as their content, and if you want to convince people your articles are worth reading, you have to demonstrate your skills through your social media presence as well.
The good news is that you don’t need to create original content for your social media channels as you do with your blog.
If you’re strapped for something to post, you can also share someone else’s posts (which is also a way to engage with your community more, as we talk about below). However, you want to be mindful that your reposts are “on brand” — just because the post isn’t yours doesn’t mean you can break your consistency.
One shortcut to showing off quality content is to use videos, which are not as common as static images and text posts.
That said, there is a reason that video marketing is growing exponentially, and why social media platforms are prioritizing this type of content more and more (which we’ll get to in a bit).
Unlike other travel bloggers, XYU and Beyond discusses not only destinations, but also practical travel concerns like packing for different types of weather. She then advertises these helpful guides on her social media using stylized, on-brand imagery, as her Pinterest example shows.
6. Stand out with video
This advice is all to equip you with the knowledge you need to turn a mediocre social media account into something good. But what if you want to turn a good social media account into something great? You’ll need to do something a little extra, like original video content.
In social media, videos get 1,200% more shares than text and image posts combined. The kind of videos you post and share will again depend on your brand personality and your goals.
Introductory brand videos which explain who you are and what your blog is about are good for brand awareness and attracting new followers. If you already have a solid social media following, you’d benefit more from more substantial videos, like how-to guides or a serialized show.
If you’re coming from a blogging background, video might feel like an alien concept.
Using a camera at all already takes a fair amount of training, let alone creating compelling content in a new medium. Read about how to create a video for social media and understand all the options available to you.
You are your best brand
That’s branding on social media in a nutshell, but don’t forget one of the most important rules: be true to yourself.
Following branding trends is one thing, but if you’re using strategies that don’t match your own personality, social media users can smell inauthenticity.
At the end of the day, social media is about community — don’t just use it as a billboard for advertising.