To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we thought it would be apt to share some tips on building love for your brand. If you’re looking to increase love for your brand right now (and who isn’t?), read on for some ideas from DH subject-matter experts on how to start increasing likeability, engagement, and awareness as soon as tomorrow. We have broken down the various (marketing and communications) love languages you should be relying on when it comes to telling your story to your audiences and hopefully making their hearts beat a little faster.
Your social media presence should be a gift.
One of the clearest ways that someone can show love for your brand is to physically engage with your social media posts through the use of reactions – think “likes”, “loves”, and other reactions (minus the ever so disheartening “angry” reaction). But how do you get your followers to love your content? It needs to add value to their lives.
Make sure you stay up to date with the most current social media trends by following brands that you love and taking note based on what you love about their content. Do you love how a brand has an extraordinarily laid out in the feed with perfectly laid out images or entertaining motion graphics? Testing these types of content on your own social profiles will help you gain greater awareness about what types of content your followers want to see from you, and you can sit back and watch those “love” reactions come rolling in.
How do you show love for your followers in return? One word. Work with local organizations, influencers and businesses in your community to partner on a giveaway as this can be a great way to show your interconnectedness within your community and create greater buy-in for your brand. Are you simply trying to gain more followers? Try hosting a “like and follow” giveaway. Just trying to raise general brand awareness? A “like and share” giveaway might be more appropriate.
Your audience can’t read your mind. You have to say the words. A few tips for writing words of affirmation that will support, uplift and empathize with your audience.
Show them you know them. Research your audiences: What do they do for fun? What are their family structures like? What barriers separate them from their goals? Use your messaging to show how your product or service addresses what truly matters to them.
Lift them up, and show them a better way. Use your messaging to paint a picture for your audiences of the change you want to see, and to show them how they can make it their change, too. This is a tenet of social change marketing — decades of research confirms that hopeful, uplifting messaging is more effective in the long run than fear-based tactics to effect positive change.
For multilingual audiences, go beyond basic translation. Transcreation refers to the re-creation of your copy so it still conveys your intent and concept — but also remains relevant and culturally appreciative for a new audience. Working with multilingual copywriters or reviewers can help you ensure your message strikes the right tone — and demonstrates that your brand is aware of and sensitive to your audience’s experiences.
Use the media to affirm your brand’s positioning, too.
Although sometimes an overlooked tactic, because you give up some control over what is being said, the media can be an even more impactful way to tell your brand’s story – precisely because the words of affirmation are coming from someone other than you.
Media relations efforts can a) get the word out about your brand’s exciting news to a wider audience than the one you currently have and b) validate your messaging, because reporters and journalists are trusted sources of factual information.
To craft an effective pitch, you need to first determine what your story is. What is a newsworthy way to position your brand? I like to begin brainstorming pitch ideas by imagining a news reporter reading off the headline. What would be both compelling to their viewers or readers yet also capture the story you want to tell?
Once you’re clear on your story, pitch it to news outlets and make it their story to tell too. If your pitch is strong, they will run with it. From there you can sit back and let the media sing your praises and give your brand some highly impactful words of affirmation.
Prioritize quality time with your audience before you even begin to develop content.
Having great audience insights is key to ensuring that your content will resonate down the road. Listen, and be willing to spend valuable time in what might first appear to be straightforward, trivial, and uncomplicated conversations.
When it comes to knowing your audience, nuance is often the difference between good and great. Shop at the stores they shop at. Is your audience made up of a certain geography or a certain occupation? Spend time perusing those Facebook groups, or Reddit communities to see what they’re talking about and learn their nuances. You might be surprised with what you can learn.
Spend time sizing up your audience, how big are they, how diverse? Do some back of the napkin math to figure out how many of them you’d need to reach to accomplish your goals. Tools like the Census database and American Community Surveys are great for providing context of scale.
Your creative assets should then make the most of quality time with your audience.
You wouldn’t dumb things down for someone you love. Don’t underestimate your audience. Put yourself in their shoes.
Your audience is you. What do you want to see? What would make you stop and watch this? What matters to you? What makes you feel something? What makes you laugh? Cry?
Don’t waste time—you don’t have any. What’s the most important thing you want to say? Multiple messages will confuse your audience and make your message less memorable.
Be sincere. Use clear, direct, open and honest language. Your audience will tune-out at even the faintest whiff of sales.
Creating love for your brand is all about touchpoints — how and where you share your message with your audience is key.
Where you place your message is important. There’s no point in having a great message, story or creative assets if you can’t use them to touch your target audiences. Placing your brand via advertising, in places your audience frequents (whether that be in-person, online, or in their own homes), makes your brand part of their lives and increases recognition, recall and likeability.
How you place that creative content matters. A key piece of this is ensuring that your creative asset fits the platform it is being advertised on. Don’t run a 10-second second vertical video ad on YouTube when it was designed to fit in with organic content and resonate with users on Instagram stories, Snapchat and TikTok.
Consider how your creative will mesh with your placement for maximum and critical impact – like how we placed creative promoting safe driving behaviors at troubled intersections and roads often violated by speeders for our Washington Traffic Safety Commission client.
An effective community engagement strategy relies heavily on acts of service — it’s about what you do and how you do it that leads to positive impact.
Words only mean so much. If your brand is going to talk the talk, it also needs to walk the walk to build any sort of credibility and affinity within a community.
When fostering long-term relationships and developing engagement strategies, it’s important to come to the table with curiosity, humility and an open mind. Amplify the voices of those who need to be heard and reflect on what you’re hearing.
Understand the problem that needs to be solved, the gap that needs to be bridged or the message that needs to be communicated. Then, ask yourself:
- What tools or expertise does my brand have to offer that can drive the goals of this community partner forward?
- What is the audience experiencing? How can we effectively meet the needs that are being expressed?
- What barriers exist for our audiences and how can they be broken down? What are the partner’s blind spots, if any?
When engaging with a community partner, remember that they are the subject matter expert. They know their audience better than anyone, and it’s critical to listen and apply all of the knowledge they have to share to inform an intentional and targeted approach. This leads to a collaborative relationship that leverages the strengths of both the community partner and your brand.