Brand image is the perception or impression your brand gives to its audience or potential customers. It is usually created over a period of time using all marketing efforts and platforms available such as social media, websites, television and other channels. Every entrepreneur aspires to build a positive brand image because they understand its importance and what that means to the brand. The importance of a positive brand image on social media is massive. If I think of a Jaguar brand of car I see speed, great service and performance the car will give.
In this article, l’ll tackle 7 questions
Q1. Giving an example, define brand image
As per the answers given by the community members from a Tweet Chat by #AfricaTweetChat led by Annek Siade who is the Head of Marketing Newfoods in Cameroon, brand image is:
a) How your audience pictures your brand. If l think of Mercedes, l see durability.
b) What feeling does your brand trigger to people? Coca-cola, for instance, tastes the feeling.
c) It’s a sense of connection that people feed off from you when they interact with your product or service. Case in point a can of Coke, every time you see a can of coke you want to ” open happiness.”
d) It is what people feel around my brand. ELiud Kipchoge is a brand, with the perception of #NoHumanIsLimited. The brand gives motivation and inspiration to dream big and go forward to achieve big rewards.
e) A brand image is strictly the way a brand directly portrays it’s worth. For example, when am looking out for a facility that gives it’s whole to students when it comes to the Cambridge Curriculum, Horizon Uganda comes into my mind more directly.
Q2. How can SMEs boost their brand image without a budget?
a) Search for communities such as #AfricaTweetChat, #TwitterSmarter, #SEMrushChat and #BHChat engage with your fellow entrepreneurs. In addition to that, a few connections from the community can lead to customers.
b) Social media provides a great channel for getting your brand out there. A consistent engagement on social media channels makes to brand your organization on zero budget.
c) Create a good social media profile, find your niche, engage in conversations with your audience, tell them about your brand and what problem your brand wishes to solve for them.
d) Create a community, especially on social networks. Find your target audience and start a relationship with it, through your content and your products and service. Above all be true, be authentic.
e) Have strong communication with your customers. Share useful content. Develop your voice. Choose the right networks and opt for visual branding.
f) Create your voice, identify your target consumer and build a message designed to be informative, helpful and authentic. Thanks to the different social media platforms,you can initially start with zero budget.
If your target consumer use primarily Facebook, create a Facebook page, plan for your specific content. It can be tips around your industry, useful pieces of information, story of your brand or behind the scenes of your business. Define a period and share.
More and more consumers look for honesty and brands they can relate too. Get your happy customers to share about you, build loyalty promotions, and engage your community. Find your tone in the noise being it visually, language or experience you share.
g) Build connections and relationships with thought leaders or influencers within your niche then approach them nicely to help you share something about your brand.
h) Use relevant and popular hashtags related to your content.
Q3. Which ways can one use to build a strong brand image?
a) It doesn’t really start with strong visuals. I believe it starts with a story, who you are and what you represent. Lebo Lion once mentioned that Coachella is a huge brand on it’s but most people don’t know it’s logo and tagline
b) Having powerful visual identity accompanied by a great story to tell is a win. Make people want to know you more (your product, your service). Propose real differentiation. What is specific about your brand and how do we know it.
Do you follow Netflix on social media? They have this wonderful, straight and powerful logo. They are funny, but not too much, reliable and always create a need for one to engage with them.
c) Be present in all the social media networks your brand is. Additionally, you can create content and respond to questions asked concerning your brand’s product and services timely.
d) Associate yourself with connected people. You should not be nagging though. Identify your niche and stir up conversations with reputable people. Once you share a perspective, you gain respect in your market environment and consequently build a strong brand image.
e) Stay focused on your brand message to communicate. Communicate your brand goals clearly. Connect to your audience by sharing good content. Stay authentic and true and never forget to be human.
f) Every day, consumers are helping shape your brand image on social media. While you certainly can’t control what people say, you can encourage your customers to be a force for good.
Q4. What is the importance of positive brand image on social media to businesses?
In a world of internet where social media platforms are becoming more congested with people of all ages and from all industries, brands should care about maintaining a positive brand image. For instance, the importance of positive brand image on social media is as follows:
a) Allows a business to differentiate themselves when communicating its message. You do not want your message to endorse everyone in the industry. Brand authorship is therefore important.
b) Makes a business stand out from the competition and influences consumers’ choice of which products or service to turn to. It builds a relationship of trust and reputation. If your audience can believe in your image, they will believe in your products.
c) Makes you different. Branding creates value for your business. Everybody can sell a pen, but nobody can sell a pen like BIC. Everybody can sell a phone, but nobody can sell a phone like APPLE. A brand image generates income and loyalty.
d) Helps in brand positioning and helps in standing out strongly in selling out the brand as unique product.
e) Brand image can make you go viral and sell even when you have a zero marketing and advertising budget for a campaign or any activation.
f) Brand image makes an Impression. A good impression is an import in business.
g) It’s a differentiation variable that people use to identify you by. It creates and nurtures relationships and sets you apart from the rest.
h) It helps you be unique in the market. A good brand image implies credibility in your market space. This way you business has higher chances of success.
i) Is a representation of the business reputation. It makes the business have its own distinctive taste to clients and own identity.
j) It determine how successful a business is in negotiating and entering into contracts and also the trust consumers have on it.
k) Most customers trust your image. If it’s good then your chances of gaining influence and succeeding are high. Every successful brand has an admirable brand image.
l) It hold the entire brand and perspective of the business. Additionally, it gives and directly grows trust of the clientele in future and present days.
m) Helps keep your company in the mind of potential consumers. Also allows the consumer to know what to expect from you as a brand.
Q5. How can one use social media to build a reputable and positive brand image on social media?
Twitter is a good example of a social media platforms that gives brands a chance to showcase their strength in customer service. The better your brand can do it by answering your customers or audience and listen to their grievances, it is easier to respected.
a) Identify your niche on social media and share content that is relevant to your niche. As Bill Gates puts it, “Content is King.” This phrase is underrated but it’s spot on and the key to building a brand that is recognized and respected on social media and consequently offline.
b) Through social media, you create awareness, engagement and loyalty. To build and strengthen your brand image use visuals (graphics, infographics, videos), they create an experience for consumers. Define clearly your voice, your message and your tone.
The social media platforms that you will choose will also help you send a message. Tiktok for example, on top of being designed for consumers below 35 years, also gives a fresh and differentiated image of your product or service.
c) Making sure one is present and answers to the questions clients are concerned about the brand. Social media also helps you reach out to your clients on the go. Additionally, it helps in re-targeting and following up.
d) Social media gives you an opportunity to serve your customers which helps you improve on customer experience and makes your brand a brand people can trust.
Q6. In what ways do entrepreneurs maintain a positive impression about their brands?
a) Impressions matter. Present your brand as an like-able, authoritative, relevant, people oriented and trustworthy brand within your industry. Look at Beyonce, She has commanded the respect she’s been getting for years just from the way she carries herself in her career.
b) Entrepreneurs are not their brand but they have to be close to it. If you build an approachable, caring and kind brand, you can’t have a different tone of conversation on social media, it will negatively affect the perception. Like mother, like child.
c) By being good brand ambassadors. For instance, by interacting with your brand’s customers and giving them a warm feeling every time they picture your brand.
d) It is determined by how entrepreneurs deal with customers face-to-face, over-the-phone and online interactions. How customers experience the brand in-person and online.
e) Pay attention to the needs of your consumers by focusing on the quality of your products and services, take their opinions into consideration.
f) The very most important way is being there for your brand! How? Always take their feedback more seriously, reply to them with appreciation notes when they comment, engage, engage and engage!
Q7. How should a brand deal with trolls, bitter and vulgar audience as they struggle to maintain their image at the top?
Apart from the trolls and vulgar people among our social media communities, we also have those critics who can be helpful in some way. I put together an article on dealing with criticism on social media a while back.
You will not always have positive and benevolent opinions. When we are confronted with this kind of people, we must be able to identify them in order to find the real problem they have and help them.
Here are ways to deal with them:
a) Ignoring trolls is best you can do. Replying gives them a chance to engage which is a distraction. The moment you engage, you give them power. They are fueled by your responses. The more you engage, the greater the control they have. If you ignore, they will be attacking a wall.
b) Be calm. Exchanging insults is never a solution. Instead, it soils the brand reputation/image further, like adding gasoline to a fire.
c) Respond positively and try to look into the issues raised. Trolls are customers or people close to our brand. They know your weaknesses but they cannot face you.
d) Controlling the message is the best remedy than controlling people. As a brand, respond well without letting your triggered emotions being all over and if they continue to banter, ignore. Trolls move on quickly when they don’t get attention.
- Have your people interest at heart
- Have a clear message of what you stand for
- Acknowledge and take responsibility for action
- Do a mini press release to determine your stand
- Sympathize with them
e) Have a crisis management protocol to help you deal with that. you must prepare yourself to good and bad things online. The golden rule is to be kind and not to feed the trolls.
f) Stay true to yourself but on top of it be respectful and open. Trolls should be identified and you may avoid or not responding to them depending on who you are and who they are.
Brand image will depend whether you will be loved, trusted, respected and enjoy loyalty from both existing and potential clients. Businesses need to invest in creating a good and lasting impression. As you have learnt from the article, the importance of a positive brand image on social media can make you be loved. Ultimately, you will realize a higher Return On Investment.