Best Practices

How Businesses Can Leverage Social Media for Cost-Free Brand Building

5 July, 2016
5 min read
Natalie Smith

Consumers spend a lot of time on social media, and companies are presented with the opportunity to utilize different networks to build their brand. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram – all are useful and popular platforms, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. This article highlights the important things to consider when creating a social media presence for your business.

With the right social media strategy, you can increase the awareness of your brand without having to spend a lot of money on advertising. If you are a beginner who is just starting out in the world of business or are unsure on what direction to take, this article is right for you.

And even if you are social media expert in private life, it´s good to start from scratch when it comes to your business. Now, let´s consider everything step by step.


Various social media networks


Brand building for businesses with the help of social media

Thoughtful planning

Before you begin your brand building journey, take the time to plan everything out. What you should first do is identify your target market, i.e. identify the users that can benefit from your products and services. When you know who you want to reach, you can choose to focus on the platforms they prefer. That way, you can reach prospective customers in their natural environment. To give your social media strategy a good chance for success, base your decisions on sound research rather than hunches.

Choose the right platforms based on your prospects’ preferences, and also take into account the specific features for each platform. Each social media site tends to lend itself to a particular purpose. For example, Facebook gives you access to a broad audience, while YouTube enables you to post videos containing product tutorials. Pinterest is great for posting images, while Linked primarily serves to form business connections. These are only a few examples, but the point is clear – choose the platform that suits you best and begin planning your activities.


Brand image and consistency

When you have chosen the right platforms, your next step should be creating an attractive profile that clearly represents your brand. Don’t expect users to try and guess your purpose because they won’t do that. Instead, use your profile to tell the world who you are and how to find you. Include information like the name and location of your company, your corporate website, describe what you do in a compelling way. Every social media profile should also contain the same visual components, such as your logo and the cover photo, so users can easily recognize your brand.

Consider the LinkedIn profile of the company Marketo:

Marketo's LinkedIn page Image source: Marketo's LinkedIn page.

What you can see in the above image is a neat and informative business profile that gives LinkedIn users all the necessary data about the company. There is no need to guess what Marketo is about. Additionally, there is a visual component in the form of the company’s logo and the emphasized motto “We Put Marketing First”.

Now, if you have several profiles on different networks, all of them need to have a consistent appearance and theme. That way, you can project a unified image that matches your website or blog. Your logo should be the same everywhere, as well as the graphics, style, and the tone of voice you use. You want people to remember your business as professional and memorable, not as random and chaotic.

Let´s consider another Market social media profiles, this time it´s their Facebook page:

Marketo's Facebook page Image source: Marketo's Facebook page.

As you can see, Marketo delivers a unified image across platforms. Again, you can find sufficient amount of information about the company, accompanied by its logo and motto. When it comes to conveying the right brand image, consistency truly matters.


Content delivery

Avoid thinking that the sole purpose of social media is to advertise and sell your products. In fact, if you try to make selling the focal point of your presence, people will not follow you or share your posts. What you need to do instead is engage your audience by giving them compelling and valuable content. Provide links to useful articles that will educate and inform your users. Use videos, quotes, images, and jokes to attract their attention and entertain them. You can also link to interesting content on your company website or blog where people can learn more about your products and choose to become customers.

Oreo provides an excellent example of how to use social media for business. The company always presents their brand image in an exciting and fun way. Here are two examples from their Twitter profile:

Fun Twitter post on Oreo Cookie's feed Image source: Oreo Cookie's Twitter page.


Delicious dessert by Oreo Cookie's (on Twitter) Image source: Oreo Cookie's Twitter page.


As you can see, these tweets are recognized as interesting and creative – not only are they liked by hundreds of users, they are also widely retweeted. So, you can try to do the same thing for your brand. When you are original and amusing, people will share your content, thus happy to spread the awareness of your brand.


Customer service

Today, every marketer knows there´s no success without exquisite customer service. As people increasingly tend to share their purchasing experiences on social media, it is very important to make them happy. If you satisfy your customers, they might go online and write a positive review recommending your brand. On the other hand, if you fail to do so, they might present your brand in a negative light, which can seriously damage your reputation or even go viral.

So, what can you do? Well, you can use social media to dazzle your followers with great one-on-one service. First of all, bear in mind to answer all their questions and resolve their issues quickly and efficiently. Go a step further and respond not only to questions and complaints but also to positive comments. Take a look at how Starbucks did it on Facebook:

Starbucks engage with their customers on Facebook. Image source: Starbucks' Facebook page.

Follow Starbucks' example and always respond to your followers. Thank them for their comments and engage with them whenever possible. Due to the public nature of such conversations, people will see how accessible and friendly your brand is, and they will appreciate it. Therefore, always do your best to delight your customers.


Expanding your audience

To build a brand through fantastic content and great customer service takes time. However, you can accelerate your efforts by getting some influencers from your industry on board. Do this by mentioning their name or their website in your content, so they can see that you have referenced them when they check their analytics. You should also tag people who you reference and send them an email with links to your content. When you do this, they will likely share your content with their audience as well. In the end, this tactic will increase the effectiveness of your social media presence.


Constant engagement

Remember to always stay active on social media. Keep talking. Engage with your followers. Encourage discussions by asking people to share their opinions or details about their experiences. For example, a travel agency can ask people to talk about their favorite destinations, and a pet shop owner can engage her followers by asking them to share stories about their pets.

Want a safe bet? Go visual. With smartphones all around, people love taking photographs. Take a look at how GoPro, a company that sells action cameras, decided to engage their users on Instagram:

GoPro publish stunning visual photos on Instagram. Image source: GoPro's Instagram account.

You can also organize contests. People love having a chance to win something special or to gain recognition. There are numerous ways of how to engage your followers, but whatever you do, always have a friendly and approachable tone that conveys your brand’s personality.



Building your brand presence and establishing yourself in the industry requires being people-oriented, not having a lot of funds. To achieve this, try to follow these tips and leverage social media to your advantage. As you contribute value to the community and your target audience, customers will naturally come your way. And if you give them a reason to return to your page, they will sooner or later become free advocates of your brand.

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