Being an authoritative voice in your sector can be crafted using social media - helping you to earn the attention of new and potential customers - so it’s important to get it right!
Choose the right social networks for your industry
You can’t have it all - so make sure what you do have is right. The first step to building brand authority with social media is choosing the social networks that are right for your company, which will depend on your industry. Trying to be active on every social media outlet, unless you have a large social media team, will only dilute your offering and negatively affect your brand authority.
Each and every company is different. If you’re a B2B company, chances are you’re not going to be focusing your attention on Instagram, and Linkedin is likely to be at the bottom of your list if you’re B2C. Pick and choose your platforms based on how much time you have to populate quality content and which network your target audience is most likely to be using.
Claim your name and plan for growth. Although focusing on your top social networks is key to success, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sign up to all of them. There’s no need to juggle all of these accounts though - just make sure they’re there. Claiming your company name on social media channels early means that as your company grows your branding will stay consistent as you expand into these other channels.
Outline your content strategy
Always have a plan - nothing can derail your social growth more than winging it. Creating social media content your audience will see is hard enough - creating high quality content they truly connect with is a whole new hurdle. Not only does content need to be engaging and interesting, it also needs to be relevant and easy to consume.
A social media content strategy not only outlines what you post and when, it also helps you to measure your results and improve. It will help to determine which network has the best engagement, the type of content your audience connects with most, and the best way to present it to them.
A three month plan is a great place to start. A social content strategy should link to your company’s overall content plan, by mapping channel-level content activity back to high-level content stories. It’s important to remember, however, that on-site content is consumed differently than social content, so it’s important to optimise content for a social audience.
Develop your voice
It’s not what you say - it’s how you say it. Outlining your company’s tone of voice and a set of written style guidelines is as important for your social media as it is for the rest of your content. With social posts, it’s important to make your point in a succinct way, which probably means you are going to have to alter your wording for specific platforms.
Reflecting your brand’s personality in your social posts may seem like a daunting task, but there are a few areas to consider that will help mould the right voice:
- Firstly, focus on your audience - how would they prefer to be spoken to? This will rely on the user personas for your specific business. If you’re unsure of who your target personas are or what to use them for, check out our article: What’s the point of user personas?
- Secondly, convey your company’s culture. What do you stand for? What keeps you - and your customers - up at night? It’s important that the cultural backbone of your company is apparent across your social posts.
- Thirdly, stay honest and authentic. Don’t try to portray yourself or your brand in a way that isn’t natural. Your readers will see straight through a post you’ve spent hours sculpting your tone of voice. Whatever you do - make sure it sounds like you.
- Fourthly, write for the platform. Tone of voice is sure to vary across different social networks. This is dependant on the copy length limits of each network and which of your personas will be using each network. A tweet will be shorter and snappier than a post on LinkedIn for example.
Develop your visual branding
If they like what they see -they’ll stick around to read. Consistency is key when it comes to visual branding across social media accounts. If you’ve cemented your position as an authoritative voice in your area, you want to be instantly identifiable across all of your social platforms.
To make sure your channels are connected visually, it’s important that you use a consistent colour palette and logo. One way you can ensure that your posts always look like ‘you’ is by creating templates for your team to use. These templates will include layouts for any overlaid text or graphics in your chosen fonts and colour schemes.
Be authentic & trustworthy
The most important characteristics for high-quality content are expertise, authority and trustworthiness (known as E.A.T). When writing a post on your website, it is important that these areas are considered from an SEO perspective. However, it is also important that the same principle is followed in the content you are sharing on social media.
As well as creating content with the E.A.T principles in mind, make sure what you bring to the table really represents your business and its opinions. Your content should be new, original and unique.
Once you’ve developed your brand identity on social media - stick to it. You won’t seem very authoritative if one day you post a highly informative article relevant to your industry and the next day you post a video of a baby monkey riding on the back of a pig - no matter how much you love that video.
One way to ensure you’re consistent, especially if there’s more than one person posting in your company, is to outline a set of editorial style guidelines. These guidelines will be the backbone of everything you post online. They will cover everything from what words should and shouldn’t be used, topics that shouldn’t be written about and the tone of voice for your brand. These guidelines should also outline your user personas, and what they like to read and where they read it.
The three month content planning you set out - don’t set it in stone. Be flexible - if big news happens in your industry, alter your strategy to include this. To ensure that you are seen as an authority in your space, your content must be up to date - if there’s big news in your industry that your competitors are posting about, it’s important that you’re also creating a conversation around the topic.
These reactive situations are the perfect time to cement yourself as the highest authority in your industry. These situations are where you and your competitors are likely to be posting around the same topic.
Don’t let this competition stop you in your tracks - this is the perfect opportunity to let your audience know why they should be reading your content, and therefore associating with your brand, over everyone else. Don’t be afraid to get involved in other conversations too; this will only support your authority further.
Engaging with your audience is an important factor when building brand authority. From like-minded peers to industry influencers, making the right connections is very important for your brand positioning - after all social media is for socialising.
Whatever your chosen channel, building a network is a great way to improve the authority of your brand. Spend some time each day networking with the right people as it will have a big impact on how you are viewed - plus it’s always fun to talk to like-minded people in your industry.
If you’re struggling to decide who to connect with, we’ve written a handy article that will help you to choose the right influencers for your marketing strategy.
Following these guidelines will help to secure your position as an authoritative voice in your industry, but your work doesn’t stop there. Spending time looking at the results from your posts, testing new content ideas and digging deep into your customer data is an ongoing process. This explorative cycle will uncover data that is unique to your business, and can be used alongside these guidelines to create a plan that delivers great results.