The days of getting away with a couple of banner ads a month on third-party websites are long gone. Social media is the new frontier to build a strong digital presence for your brand. It offers the perfect platform to connect with your target audience and create meaningful conversations about your brand.

On Instagram alone, 200 million users actively visit the profile of a business every day. More than 80% Instagrammers follow a business or brand profile actively. One can only imagine how much brand awareness can be generated on all social media platforms concurrently. Unfortunately, owing to the lack of resources and knowledge, most startups fail to take full advantage of social media marketing.

Use the following four tips to lay the foundation of a robust social media branding strategy.

1. Build Social Media Profile from the Start

Having social media presence is non-negotiable. Personally, one may believe that sending out daily tweets is a waste of time. But, it’s an efficient and cost-effective way of building a brand image for your business. Any new company, whether a t-shirt-making business or a tech startup, needs to start building their social media profile from day one.

Chances are, your potential target customers are already active on social media. Start by building a bond of trust with them. Choose a profile and cover images that accurately reflect your brand. Using high-quality images is a must. If possible, use pictures taken by a professional photographer.

You can also include company slogans or taglines in your social media profile. Use a slogan maker to create better taglines. Make sure to write a to-the-point and crisp description. Include relevant keywords as social media is also going to be a critical aspect of your SEO strategy. Keep an eye on trending topics and use them to promote your brand.

2. Choose the Right Platforms

All these efforts are going to be a waste of time if you don’t set up profiles on the right social media channels. What’s the point of having an Instagram account if your prospects hang out on Twitter? In the beginning, it is okay to set up profiles on only a couple of platforms. But first, find out what your target audience is like and where they hang out.

Define your typical customers. How old are they? Are they male or female? What is their income and education? What are their interests and hobbies? Write down the answers to these questions to build a profile of your customers.

When doing so, make sure to define your marketing goals as well. For example, as a startup, you want to drive brand awareness. So, you will need to use social media to develop a friendly relationship with your target audience. Find out the ways in which potential social media platforms can be used to build brand awareness, which brings us to next point.

3. Engage Your Customers on Social Media

Driving brand awareness is all about creating meaningful engagement with your target audience. You can generate brand awareness through organic or paid advertisement methods. Organic social media engagement, however, is more reliable and longer lasting compared to paid media.

Whether you are posting your company’s day-to-day activities or promoting your products, keep your tone conversational. It should have a personality. People should feel like they are interacting with a human, not just a brand. Share valuable and informative content regularly. However, the thrust of your efforts will be on telling people how your product or brand is different from your competitors.

For example, Peel, a cell phone case brand, used the USP of functionality and style to compete in one of the most crowded markets in the world. They have successfully used Facebook videos to tell their target audience what separates their products from everyone else. They also have aesthetically-pleasing Instagram feeds consisting of beautiful product photos and videos. The brand makes it a point to respond to customer comments and queries on both platforms.

4. Take Full Advantage of E-Commerce SEO

Websites with a strong social media standing often tend to have better control over SEO and attract more web traffic. However, to take full advantage of e-commerce SEO from the beginning, you will need to keep a few things in mind.

First, the more likes, shares, and comments your social media posts earn, the higher its SEO value goes. So, make sure to post high-quality images and videos, and reply to the comments, even the negative ones! Also, encourage your followers to share the content.

Second, social mentions increase the credibility and legitimacy of your e-commerce website. Create hashtags that define your brand and encourage your target audience to use those hashtags when referring to your brand or business on social media.

Third, earn valuable backlinks from your social media profiles to your e-commerce website. The more engaging your social media posts are, the better are the chances of obtaining backlinks to your site.

In addition to these tricks, you should also integrate social media sharing buttons on your website. Etsy has included social media buttons on all its product pages. Thus, their potential customers can quickly share the products they like on social media.

Perhaps you can start a blog on your e-commerce site to improve the connection between your social media profile and e-commerce site. Share your blog posts on social media to drive more traffic to your site.

Parting Words

Tapping into the world of social media will open several opportunities for your e-commerce startup to build brand awareness. However, your social media efforts should go well beyond just providing engaging, personalized, and valuable content. Hopefully, these four pointers will prove helpful in setting off your branding strategy. How do you plan to approach social media brand awareness? Share your thoughts below.

Guest author Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in White Label Services for Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.