Here are two important facts to know: A) Brand awareness is cited as the top priority for marketers in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer fields. B) Nearly 2.1 billion people (just over two thirds of active Internet users) have social media accounts. So, it’s easy to understand why business and consumer marketers nearly unanimously believe that social media is crucial to building a brand.

So where to begin? Here’s 10 ways to build a brand through social media.

01. Be consistent across social media platforms

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Building a brand doesn’t happen over night (Pantene knows this); it takes time and dedication. According to Brandchannel, it took 15 years for Nike to cement its brand by focusing on maintaining a ‘360 degree delivery,’ ensure its brand was consistent across all products, advertising, customer service and packaging.

So with that in mind, it is important to build a strong and consistent brand across all social media platforms. A brand’s profile on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, your company blog and everywhere else its has a presence online should be unified and in line with the brand essence and style guide. Be consistent with graphics, color, style and language, and even posting routine. Inspirational quotes on Monday? #TBT photos on Thursday? Whatever the routine, keep it consistent so followers know what to expect.

Takes some tips from these eight businesses, including Google, Target and Amazon, that Desmond Wong identifies as nailing social media consistency.

02. Design a logo that displays the brand philosophy

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A successful logo is the anchor of a brand and its design should represent a brand’s philosophy. When designing a logo, it’s important point to consider is what the brand represents, and what the brand doesn’t represent.

03. Use colors that make a statement

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Color can be used to give a brand personality and meaning as the graphic above shows and using colors with impact and meaning can help a brand appeal to its target audience. As in the first point, be consistent with color across all media platforms – online and offline – to ensure a consistent, unified and professional look.

04. Know the voice and style of a brand

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The product or service plus the demographics of the target audience will determine the voice and style of a brand on social media. Imagine the brand as a person and consider what type of language it would use and what types of things it would share online. Try and describe this person in terms of age, gender, interests, and personality.

Social Media Explorer’s Stephanie Schwab’s helpful guide on finding a brand voice lays out several additional factors:

  • Tone. Be clear to followers about what and how the brand will communicate online. Is your brand cheeky and irreverent or serious and formal?
  • Language. What type of language will the brand use online? A young and hip brand might get away with more slang, or a niche brand may use more acronyms and industry-specific language.
  • Purpose. Identify the main reason the brand is on social media? Is your goal to educate or entertain?

Finally, put together a social media style guide. It will be a useful reference document for anyone in the company who speaks on behalf of a brand.

05. Talk like a human being

Now, that a brand’s personality has been identified, use that personality to build a brand people can trust. When it comes to social media, the method that has proved successful over time is to talk like a human being.

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Ditch the corporate-speak and converse with users like a human being would. Respond to enquiries on a first name basis, and don’t be afraid to use colloquial dialogue and humor. Quirky? Witty? Serious? Talking like a human being with sense of personality will make a brand more relatable. And if it’s really clever, genuine and entertaining it may even go viral.

Check out this LinkedIn blog that uses a great analogy to test against a brand: Would you grab a bite with your blog? If the answer is ‘yes,’ chances are the audience will be more inclined to engage with a brand as if it were a trusted neighbor or a friend over lunch.

06. Quit plugging, start conversing

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Along those same lines, really focus on building a relationship with customers by conversing, interacting, engaging and caring. Don’t solely plug products or services – broadcasting is dead. Genuine, two-way communication is key because at the end of the day, people need to inherently trust a brand and that takes time and effort.

07. Tell a compelling story

Who doesn’t love a good story? Storytelling is central to human existence and, in fact, by telling someone a story it can have the powerful effect of getting them on board with a idea as it causes the listener to turn the story into their own idea and experience. In the same way, a brand – or the idea of a brand – can become more compelling by spinning a yarn about it. Involve customers in a brand story and they will engage with it.

TOMS does an excellent job of this on Facebook by sharing pictures of those the company helps and telling current and potential consumers the contribution they are or could be making.

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08. Be transparent

Transparency is bedrock of any long-lasting relationship, so in the same way, giving customers a glimpse behind the scenes of brand can prove vital in establishing a healthy relationship. Use social media platforms to publish information that will help consumers understand the mechanics of a brand better.

Buffer is a terrific example of being transparent on social media and they rocked the business world when they published all their employee salaries (and more) online:

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Of course, it doesn’t have to be as radical as Buffer’s post, but simply letting customers know future plans or admitting to mistakes is a great start. Simply put, draw customers into the world of the brand or company.

09. Post relevant content

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Don’t post for the sake of posting. Keep social media posts relevant, meaningful and simple. Posting too frequently and posting ‘boring’ content are the main reasons people will unfollow and unlike brands.

10. Make it visual

Users engage with social media posts that include images more than with posts that don’t include images.  Add infographics, photographs and other visual images to posts and take advantage of Pinterest and Tumblr, which can be used to store and share visual content.

YOUR TURN

Social media can be a great tool to increase your online presence, but as more brands jump on the Internet bandwagon, marketing clutter can make it hard to compete. Be sure to not only use social media as a branding tool, but to use effectively in order to stand out and keep customers engaged and interested.

Anna heads up several of Canva's content marketing projects, including her favourite: Design School. She's passionate about the way content can be used to create a meaningful synergy between businesses and their audiences. Say hello on Twitter @AnnaIsabella92.