So, you have built yourself a business from the ground up. You have laboured over your brand, you have employed fantastic people, and you have got a fabulous service or product to sell. But, in order to build a successful empire, you need your customers to trust your brand, believe in your company, and want your product over a competitor’s.
What's right for your business? Blogging, content marketing and brand journalism are not mutually exclusive: in fact, they go hand-in-hand in a well-defined content strategy. Inbound marketing attracts your target audience to your website by sharing high-quality, useful information that they want to receive.
If your brand is unique, your message shouldn't blend in
~ Kathryn Bechthold, CEO Alchemy Communications
For marketers it can be tricky making sure your name is out there, but you aren't appearing too spammy or salesy by plastering your logo on every available surface. PR pros and marketing experts often overlook some very simple yet strategic ways to maximize your branding for increased online visibility.
3 Simple Tips for Visual Branding
1. Watermark your Visuals
Your visuals are shared across social media - that's your goal! Imagine that clever meme you created going viral... but no one knows its your creation. Your visuals can be:
- repinned on Pinterest
- retweeted on Twitter
- regrammed on Instagram
- reposted on Facebook
Many times the identity of the original poster of a visual is lost in all the social sharing. To avoid getting your visual hijacked, always brand your visuals: add your brand logo, name, social links, hashtag or website to your visual. Don't go crazy and add them all: just chose one strategy, and stick with it!
2. Create a Unique Brand Hashtag
Your event, brand, product or campaign can have a unique hashtag that you use across all social media channels, on your visuals, promotional materials, news releases: anywhere you want to promote your brand. And each time your social post is shared, the brand and your message grows!
TIP: Make your hashtag memorable. As CEO of Alchemy Communications I'm a #PurveyorOfPR - check us out on Twitter!
3. In Images, Size Counts
You can design the very best infographic or image, and no one will ever see if it the visual isn't the sized for that social media channel. Unfortunately each social channel has evolved to have uniques size criteria for your profile photo, cover image and posts. When you write a blog post, to share it across social media channels might require 5 or 6 different images to meet the social criteria. Unfortunately when it comes to visual content marketing, it is not one size fits all.
This optimal image size cheatsheet from Social Media Today will help you design images that are the exact size you need
For More Information on Visual BrandingCanva: 20 Actionable Tips to Build a Visual Brand Identity HubSpot: How to Build a Strong Visual Brand on Social Media
author: Kathryn Bechthold, Communications expert in Calgary, AB. Owner/CEO of Alchemy Communications Inc.
more than 70 % of consumers favor hashtags on mobile devices and nearly half are motivated to explore new content when hashtags are present
A hashtag strategy uses the # symbol (pound sign) in front of text, images or videos on social media content to deliver a specific message. Hashtags are a simple and effective strategy to organize and search social media content. Originally created by Twitter to help users find topics of interest, hashtags are now used on many - but not all - social media channels to organize and sort topics for their audience. The best thing about hashtags: you can create your own!
5 Steps to Create a Hashtag Strategy for Your Brand
1. Research popular hashtags for your industry and your audience
A search of Google and each social media channel will help you find hashtags that appeal to your target audience to market your brand. For example, #smallbiz #smallbusiness #SmallBusinessSaturday
- Twitter displays hashtags that are trending
- Pinterest has a search field dedicated to hashtags
2. Create hashtags unique to your brand
A unique hashtag is a fun and identifiable way to deliver your brand's message. Your # should be
- deliver a clear message
Once you come up with hashtag ideas for your campaign, search your social media channels to determine if that hashtag is already being used.
3. Share your hashtags on your social media profiles
If you create a unique hashtag for your brand, a special event or a key product; or you post on topics of appeal to a specific audience, publicize that hashtag in your social media profiles:
- bios on social media channels
- cover art for your social media networks
- Alt text for your cover images
4. Make hashtags readable
Both long and short hashtags can be incredibly effective in delivering your message. While short and simple is often the best strategy for hashtags, longer hashtags can be very effective in delivering a very specific message. Make your hashtags readable: which # would you understand and remember:
5. Use hashtags with care
Don't spam your followers with hashtags. One or 2, and possibly 3 hashtags work for a Tweet. On Instagram, following your post with 15, 20 or even 30 hashtags is effective in targeting your various audiences. Each social media channel has unique characteristics and user preferences that can guide your brand's hashtag strategy.
Tips for Using Hashtags on the Most Popular Social Media Channels
Twitter: Hashtags remain a key component of Twitter search and are used to organize topics, follow specific events (such as twitter chats), identify popular topics on Twitter, create conversations and express creativity. Because Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters, too many hashtags in a single tweet can annoy users, but also are a great way to express creativity.
Instagram: Instagram is wildly popular for hashtags. Many users add 5, 10, 20 or even 30 hashtags at the end of their post to reach as wide an audience as possible. As shown in the image above, Instagram encourages hashtag use with a hashtag search option that auto-fills to encourage use of popular user hashtags.
Google +: G+ supports and encourages the use of hashtags. When you post on G+ with hashtags, Google Plus will automatically highlight your 1st or most popular hashtag in the upper right hand corner of the post to help users find content.
Pinterest: Pinterest has remained silent on the use of hashtags. Many users add hashtags in their pin descriptions, but they appear to offer no advantage over using your keyword or phrase.
Facebook: Hashtags were implemented for search on Facebook last year, but they are not popular with Facebook users. Use hashtags sparingly on Facebook so you don't annoy your followers, but they may not be effective as so few brands are using them.
LinkedIn: Hashtags are not yet used on LinkedIn, primarily because they are not searchable. However, social media analysts predict that they can't be far off. For now, use hashtags on LinkedIn only if they are critical to a specific campaign message.
This infographic by Huffington Post shows The Power of the Hashtag