How to Build a Digital Presence
For virtually any modern brand, regardless of their industry, a digital presence is critical. B2C brands need to engage with consumers on digital platforms, while B2B companies can use these same platforms to position themselves as thought-leaders. Brands without an active Twitter or Instagram are effectively invisible. These platforms are the fastest, easiest ways to communicate with a target audience.
But new brands often struggle with building this presence. Either they can’t parse exactly the kinds of content their audience experts, or they simply give up when they don’t see immediate results. Social media growth is a slow-burn: pages must be constantly cultivated, monitored, and grown. This is the case even for larger brands with a “built-in” presence.
What Exactly is a “Digital Presence?”
This term refers to having active, easily identifiable social media accounts. While “social media” itself is a broad term, typically it references a handful of major platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok. These platforms are all very different from one another. While there is overlap, the user base and ideal content are drastically different. A short, viral-ready video would perform well on the teen-oriented TikTok but not on the business-minded LinkedIn, for example. Understanding the needs of each audience as it relates to these platforms is a key component of building a digital footprint.
Twitter is primarily text-based, and its self-imposed 140 character limited means short, punchy sentences are ideal. Twitter can host image and video content, but users expect interactivity beyond anything else. Brands should interact with users, celebrities, and other brands.
Instagram is primarily image and video focused. While there is space for captions, users may scroll past it. Bright, bold, eye-catching imagery is what works on this platform.
Facebook is currently doing very well with long-form video content. While video content can perform well on Instagram, brands should make it the primary focus here.
What Makes for “Good” Content?
The specifics of this depend on the audience and their needs and expectations. But in a general sense, content should be one of the Three E’s: Emotional, Educational, or Entertaining.
Emotional content is designed to elicit a specific response. While this can be tied directly to a specific product or service, modern brands are seeing success simply introducing content that only relates to their brand in a broad sense. For example, Ruckus recently partnered with Crayola to produce a series that highlights artists and their unique process. Crayola was not the focus. Instead, they let these videos speak to the power of art and creativity. Crayola products are certainly a means to creating art, but that’s a connection the audience can make on their own.
Educational content seeks to make consumers more aware or informed. This can be product-specific: a short-form video may highlight one or two important features. But it can also be related to the industry as a whole.A vegan food manufacturer may find success tweeting out links to vegan-friendly organic recipes. Learn why consumers buy or use a product, and understand how that fits into their lifestyle. Creating content (or even sharing pre-existing content), cements the brand as one that understands customer needs beyond a transactional relationship.
Entertainment is a wide category, but it’s effectively content that’s deemed as “fun” or “interesting” but doesn’t further the brand in any direct way. This includes brand-generated funny videos, or even links to interesting articles. A fitness brand may share a celebrity’s workout regimen.
Creating a variety of content that falls into these categories is of paramount importance to new brands. This is the best way to learn what content is most effective. What does the target audience like to share? What are they more likely to comment on? The more people interact with a brand on social media, the more likely other users are to see it.
Use Target Keywords
They’re called keywords for a reason. These are the terms that are important to the industry, brand, and target audience. While certain keywords are industry mainstays, it’s also crucial that brands stay a part of the conversation. That means knowing what’s being talked about in the industry. That could be anything from fun memes to noteworthy events. Monitor and use the keywords actively being talked about by other brands and users.
Beyond what’s new and noteworthy, new brands need to ensure they’re using keywords that will help customers find them. This includes industry search queries and platform-specific hashtags. Create content that uses these words and answers these questions. A mattress supplier may target the phrase “what is the best mattress?” by creating a blog that attempts to answer that question. Staying on top of terms being used and targeting them consistently is what creates long-term success.
As previously mentioned, all social media platforms are different. While there’s usually some overlap, Instagram users may be searching for a particular industry in a very different way compared to LinkedIn users. Someone searching for a new office chair on Instagram likely only needs it for personal use. That same query on LinkedIn might be looking to replace an entire office worth of chairs. Understand the platform, the audience, and their needs, and make sure that’s being used to give these terms context.
It’s also important to focus on words that people should associate with the brand. Use those in tandem with other keywords to create a strong identity around a brand.
This is a Never-Ending Marathon
For new brands, the first several months on social media require a willingness to try new things and a ton of determination. Social media presence is developed and refined over time. Even the largest social media team with unlimited resources won’t be able to flip a magic switch overnight. New brands need to establish themselves online, and that takes months.
All too often, new brands abandon their pages or strategies when they don’t see immediate results. Continuing to try new things without gaining a foothold will ultimately leave a brand without traction. The more time and effort spent growing a presence, the better the return.
Looking to grow your digital presence? Find out how Ruckus can help your brand by reaching out to us here.