The way you present your business to the world—and all of the messages that come out of it—is what makes your brand recognizable and memorable. Unfortunately, in the rush to get the word out about your company and products, it’s easy for that messaging to become diluted or inconsistent across platforms.
While it’s true that each channel—from Facebook to YouTube to email—all have unique quirks and conventions, your underlying messaging must be consistent.
By defining your messaging under a uniform, well-researched strategy, you will not only be able to more effectively tailor that messaging template to various channels and segments, but you’ll also create a recognizable brand that builds awareness and loyalty in your target audience—wherever they go online.
Define Message Goals
Before you start writing out your messaging, you need to know exactly what you’re trying to achieve through your content strategy. By defining your messaging goals, you’ll identify who you should be communicating with and where they will be most receptive to those messages.
Depending on your overall business goals, these objectives may include:
- Growing brand reach
- Increasing customer engagement
- Improving the customer/user experience (UX)
Precisely articulate these goals, and write them down.
Ideally, you should also set concrete, measurable objectives that you can use to track your success over time. For example, suppose your goal is to grow brand reach. You may decide that to be successful, you must grow your follower count by 5000 in the next quarter.
Focusing on metrics that matter most will allow you to dial in your messaging to meet those goals. You’ll also be able to tell what’s working and what isn’t.
Conduct Persona Research
To create cohesive and engaging messaging, you’ll next need to understand who you want to reach through buyer persona research. This will help develop consistent, effective messaging by identifying the different goals that your audience has and how to address them.
To build your buyer personas, you should start by leveraging your in-house knowledge and data on your past customers and prospects.
Start by asking some key questions:
- How do these personas find and consume information online?
- What keywords do they use when searching online?
- What do they care about?
- What are their fears and concerns?
You’ll end up building out multiple customer personas to represent the different consumer groups you’ll target. If you do this, you can create variations of your messaging specific to each persona and tailored to the platforms they’re most likely to use.
While the tone and delivery of this messaging will vary based on the audience you’re trying to reach, the underlying message—your brand promise, benefits, and differentiating factors—should remain the same.
You have plenty of choices for marketing channels to get your message out there. However, you have to focus on the ones that will add the most value to your overall strategy. If you don’t prioritize somewhere, you risk losing the opportunity to make a meaningful impact anywhere.
This is where your customer personas show their worth. Not all channels will have equal strategic value, so use what you know from your persona research to better understand where your audience spends their time and which channels deserve your focus.
Then, tailor your message accordingly based on which segment of your audience you’re speaking to and the culture of the social platform itself. Just remember, no matter which channels you choose, your underlying messaging should be consistent.
Here are some of the more popular social media channels and the risks and rewards of using each one to reach your target customers:
Target Audience: Facebook is still the most popular social network in the world, with the largest demographic being 25-34 years-old. In most age groups, male Facebook users outnumber female Facebook users, except for those who are over 55. Facebook usage is also relatively evenly split across income levels.
Advantages: Facebook offers many different ways to interact with customers, including messaging, video (Facebook Watch), and posts to your page. Also, the fact that Facebook collects a great deal of user data makes it a very effective advertising platform, especially if you spend time researching your target audience and tailoring your messaging.
Target Audience: The audience on Instagram is primarily young, with over 70% aged 34 or younger. According to Instagram, they’re also open to engaging with businesses and product ambassadors. As of 2019, about 90% follow a business on Instagram, and 87% admit that an influencer has inspired them to make a purchase.
Advantages: Instagram could be a good choice if your brand relies heavily on visual messaging. Businesses use the platform to share images and videos with followers who may respond with comments and likes. It’s also a mobile-first platform, meaning that part of the platform design is the prioritization of the mobile user experience over other user experiences.
Target Audience: Twitter’s core audience is between the ages of 25 and 34. With 38.5% of total users in this age group, it’s easily the largest demographic. According to Pew Research Center, Twitter users are younger, more educated, and have higher incomes than the overall U.S. population.
Advantages: On Twitter, the focus is on brief, relevant, and timely messages. If you’re interested in keeping up with industry news and sharing your expertise as a thought leader, Twitter may be a good choice for you. Tweets can be replied to or retweeted to spread the message further, making it possible for smaller accounts to go viral if the right person sees and shares them.
Target Audience: Pinterest use is distributed relatively evenly across age groups 18-65. According to Pinterest, while women make up about 60% of Pinterest’s total users, the number of male users has grown in recent years. Pinterest users also tend to be wealthier than the general population, with the plurality of users making over 75k per year.
Advantages: People who use this platform are interested in learning new things, picking up new ideas, and exploring products. Keep in mind that the purpose of “pinning” content is to come back to it later. Audience members here are interested in content that will be relevant over time or that they can reference over and over again—such as infographics, how-to guides, and inspirational content.
While these are the most popular platforms, keep in mind that there are others available. Plus, there are sure to be more social channels rolled out in the future. For example, brands have utilized Reddit, TikTok, and Snapchat to reach segments of their audience.
It’s a good idea to reevaluate your social strategy periodically and monitor the industry for new opportunities and changes in audience demographics.
How Often Should You Post?
While you’re considering which platforms to prioritize, it’s also a good idea to think about posting frequency. If you post too much, you could annoy customers, especially if quality becomes thin. Too little, and they may stop caring about you altogether.
This is where a bit of competitive analysis can help. Take a look at the posting patterns of brands in your niche that have the most success.
How often are they posting? What content format are they using most? When are they posting?
Every channel and industry niche is unique. Keeping track of your closest competitors will give you a better idea of what you’ll need to do to stay competitive.
A large part of messaging can be communicated through a brand’s content marketing strategies. To do this, make sure that your day-to-day processes and monthly content objectives align with the message goals you want to achieve.
Ask yourself, what are my messaging goals this month? Is it to grow brand awareness, to increase followers, or maybe to drive more people to your website? Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, planning your content around these goals becomes much easier.
As discussed in our previous post on search intent, one way to create valuable content is through SERP analysis. Through this process, you’ll get insights into the questions your audience is asking and how to provide content that fully answers those questions.
As you choose the focus of your next campaign, make sure to tailor your content to your personas and the unique conventions of each platform.
All marketing strategies need to be adjusted and perfected to meet your goals. To do this, you need to set measurable objectives, then find tools to track your progress.
Google Analytics is probably the most popular tool for website analytics. It can help you see how your social efforts are converting into website traffic and from which platforms that traffic originates.
Additionally, there are tools built into most social platforms that allow you to measure progress, like Instagram Insights. There are also paid tools like Sprout Social to help you track the success of your campaigns across platforms.
Keeping track of these metrics is essential to figuring out what’s working and making improvements for your next campaign.
Get Your Point Across (All Platforms)
Every area of your company must be in sync when it comes to brand messaging, and all departments should be aware of strategies and goals as related to messaging.
This isn’t something that should solely rest on the marketing department. Accounts, sales, operations, and other business areas must know what the brand is trying to accomplish, even if they don’t have direct customer contact.
Any brand that wants to stand out as a leader cannot be one-dimensional. They have to be consistent but not homogenous. It’s possible to communicate the same underlying message while appealing to different audiences on different platforms—even using different devices.
Of course, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of platforms available. You may even feel tempted to maintain a presence on every app for fear of missing out on an opportunity.
However, a strategic approach that builds upon a consistent, effective message to drive brand awareness will pay off in the long run. Any brand that can master a focused, multi-platform messaging strategy will accelerate growth and drive more sales.