When your beard overgrows, do you ask for Gillette or a razor? When you visit a fast-food restaurant for a drink, do you order a Coke or cola? What about when you accidentally cut yourself in the kitchen? Do you look for Band-Aid or a plastic bandage?
We refer to these terms as proprietary eponyms, and they’re pretty much the apex of brand awareness (sorry, Pepsi). In most cases, you’ll have the name of a brand on your mind. Such brands get so popular until they eclipse the generic terms for related products.
While you might not become a household name, such as Coca-Cola, quickly, it doesn’t hurt to try, does it?
Here are our best five brand-building strategies to help boost your brand awareness.
1. Encourage Users and Customers to Leave Reviews on Review Sites
Although businesses dedicate massive resources to marketing and advertising campaigns to help build reputation and awareness, the truth is, customers first go through reviews before discovering and trusting brands.
As high as 40% of customers make a purchasing decision after going through one to three reviews. And positive reviews play a significant role among customers who’d like to make a purchase. In fact, the likelihood of purchase usually peaks when ratings hit the 4 to 4.7 range.
A one-star increase on Amazon rating has a 26% correlation in sales. On Yelp, the same rise contributes to a 5 to 9% rise in revenue. However, brands with three more negative reviews can lose 59.2% of their prospects.
How do you leverage the power of customer reviews to crank up your brand reputation?
- Encourage your customers to leave a review on your business pages located on Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List, and other popular customer review sites.
- Display ratings and reviews on your product website page, as doing this can potentially increase your conversion rate by 270%, according to the Spiegel Research Center.
- Identify products with a small number of reviews and prioritize generating more reviews for them
- Embrace negative reviews, as they establish authenticity and credibility
- Encourage customers to write reviews as verified buyers rather than anonymous sources. Verified buyer badges boost a review’s credibility and increase the likelihood of purchase by 15%.
- Use video testimonials to engage potential customers so they can get your brand’s real feel. Watching a person talk about your service or product is similar to word-of-mouth advertising and works in a similar way to build trust and improve brand awareness.
2. Post Engaging Content on Social Media
At times, we look at the big guns like Wendy’s, GoPro, or Starbucks, and wonder what we can do to replicate a fraction of their social media performance.
If your brand is struggling to shine on social media, you’re not alone.
According to the Sprout Social 2018 Social Index, the primary goal of 80% of social marketers is to boost brand awareness on social.
This research isn’t a surprise given that the modern social landscape is becoming increasingly competitive. The outcome is that most brands find it challenging to get the attention of their target audience.
Here are some tips you can use to build brand awareness through social media content:
Inject In Some Personality
You don’t want your social media content to look like that of everyone else. While it might seem obvious, most brands are falling into the trap of sounding robotic.
They post a link, a photo, some text with a couple of hashtags, and call it a day. Here’s the truth, though: that’s not how serious brands stand out.
Let’s take Moonpie, for example. This seemingly ‘boring’ brand is exceedingly popular, thanks to their exceptional voice and unique sense of humor.
Here’s one of their tweets urging their fans to stay at home during the coronavirus.
On platforms like Instagram and Twitter, selfies and story-centered posts tend to do pretty well.
Look at this post by Airbnb, for example:
Let’s face it: most of the comments people publish on social platforms aren’t exciting. This is a great opportunity for those brands that would like to write more thoughtful comments beyond boring words like “Cool, “Great, or “Nice.”
Posting more thoughtful or creative comments is a powerful way to stand out from the crowd. It’s an opportunity to let your brand’s personality shine before potential customers.
Repurpose Your Content
Each social platform is different, which is why you shouldn’t post the same content across all networks. In other words, what works on Facebook might not be prime for Twitter or LinkedIn.
For example, if you publish a case study, don’t just post a mere link. Instead, package the content into a captivating infographic. You’ll end up scoring links and shares alike.
To keep your timeline from going stale, always come up with new social media ideas to keep the feed fresh and your audience glued. You can simply inspect what the competitors in the niche are doing to see what works best to engage their audience.
Value Before Promotion
While some of your social media content will be promotional, you should also focus on posting content that’s insanely helpful to your audience. Start by sharing information that benefits your followers. Examples of such content include free resources and blog posts.
You’ll discover that your audience engages more with content that benefits them than one that benefits you. Thus, post content that solves people’s problems. Besides, remember to comment with answers to their questions.
3. Publish User-Generated-Content
User-generated content (UGC) refers to the content that your audience generates. It can be in the form of videos, text, reviews, photos, and more. UGC is a win-win because it benefits both your audience and brand.
- Relevance – Your followers come up with content ideas that resonate with their interests, needs, wants, and challenges.
- Compelling storytelling – By involving your audience in content creation, they automatically develop an interest in the entire narrative.
- Personalization – Audiences like it when published content reflects their thoughts. When you involve them in generating social media content, they feel valued and elevated. The entire experience doesn’t only give them a sense of ownership but also bolsters their relationship with your brand.
- Engagement – Involving your audience will trigger them to like, share, and comment on your posts. This action extends your brand reach.
- More traffic – Using interactive campaigns to mobilize your content can drive tons of traffic to your website, broaden your SEO footprint, and increase your backlink profile.
- Originality – Every member provides a unique perspective. The outcome is rich content that none of your competitors can produce.
- Evergreen – UGC has a long shelf life. Besides, it can inspire future posts.
Now that posting user-generated content can win you brownie points, how exactly do you create such content?
How to Create User-Generated Content
Here are some ideas to get started with UGC:
Most brands run social media contests that don’t require much interaction (tag a photo, tag a friend). While that’s fine, we prefer those contests that encourage unique and creative contributions from users. Creative contests help to strengthen the relationship between the brand and customers.
Here’s a spectacular example of an Instagram contest from Colman’s Mustard. The campaign’s goals are to increase product usage and get opinions from customers under a hashtag dubbed #HotMessSquad.
To run a successful social media content:
- Define the contest type, objective, and timing
- Use attractive images
- State the rules in plain language so there’s no confusion
- Include incentives for those who share the contest
- Make the contest mobile-friendly
- Add a sense of urgency to the contest
Still stuck on where to start? Check out these social media contest ideas for inspiration.
Harnessing the power of hashtags can immediately put your brand before the eyes of thousands of users.
The easiest way to use hashtags is by joining trending topics because such topics often engage an insane number of social media users.
There are three ways to go about this. The first one is to wait for a trending topic in your niche and then post content using the right hashtags.
The third strategy is to observe the hashtags your followers and competition are using and borrow the most effective ones.
Sometimes, your niche may not generate many trends, and that’s where the second approach comes in handy. You can use hashtags that have no close relationship with your industry, such as holidays.
Acknowledging and rewarding your fans for their contributions is an effective way to motivate them to develop more UGC.
No, you don’t always have to dish out cash prizes and discount coupons. Even a gesture of appreciation, such as liking or sharing their posts, can go a long way.
4. Publish Amazingly Valuable Blog Content
Publishing content that solves people’s problems is one of the best ways to position yourself as a thought leader in your niche.
You want to publish top-notch blog posts that add value to the lives of your audience. Doing so consistently gives you the opportunity to become a trusted source that people keep coming back to whenever they have an issue or need information on a certain topic.
However, to make sure your awesome content reaches the right audience, you have to know the needs of your target audience first. That means you should optimize each blog post in search engines so that people can find it when doing Google searches.
You can start by researching the keywords your audience is using when looking for content on a certain issue that you can help solve. Not only will this research help you optimize your existing content, but it can also give you some new ideas for content that’s closely tailored to your specific audience.
So, set up a content calendar and start creating high-quality blog posts consistently.
5. Partner with Influencers
Working with influencers is an innovative way not only to increase brand exposure but also to drive sales. Influencers have a loyal audience who follow whatever the influencer recommends.
If the influencer recommends a product, the fans may want to try it. If the influencer discourages fans from using a particular service or product, they won’t use it.
So, reach out to top influencers and micro-influencers in your niche and ask them to discuss your product in their posts or even do a review of one of your products. Those mentions will broaden your reach.
You might have the best service or product in your industry, but without marketing yourself online, people won’t know about it.
You don’t need a colossal marketing budget to make your brand famous. Cost-efficient approaches, such as piggybacking on the content posted by your customers and micro-influencers, can make a huge difference.
Guest Submission by Lisa Michaels. Follow her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.