Your complete guide to social media branding (and 13 expert tips)

Creating a social media brand is both a challenging and vital task for any business. We’ll show you how to create yours from scratch.

how to nail social media branding

Branding is crucial, no doubt. But when it’s time to navigate the digital landscape, social media branding can elevate your game to a whole new level. Whether you’re running an online startup or a well-established brick-and-mortar business, building your social brand is not just optional—it’s essential.

However, social media branding is not just about posting content or snagging likes. It’s a multi-faceted endeavor that involves strategic planning, targeted engagement and a dash of creativity. In this guide, you’ll find actionable strategies and tips for establishing your brand on key social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and X.

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What is social media branding?

Social media branding is the practice of shaping your business identity on social platforms to create brand recognition and nurture relationships with your target audience. It’s an extension of your overall brand strategy, just fine-tuned to take advantage of the unique features of social media. This can lead to better engagement and customer loyalty.

In other words, social media branding is about building and maintaining a lasting relationship with your audience. It’s distinct from social media marketing, which is more focused on achieving specific short-term goals. Both are crucial for business success, but they serve different purposes.

Nail your social media branding strategy in 13 steps

  1. Dial in your target audience
  2. Choose the appropriate platforms
  3. Create business accounts to access advanced tools
  4. Craft your brand persona
  5. Set brand guidelines
  6. Create high-quality content
  7. Implement a content calendar
  8. Engage with your community
  9. Leverage user-generated content
  10. Work with influencers
  11. Use paid advertising wisely
  12. Keep tabs on your competitors
  13. Monitor and adapt

01. Dial in your target audience

The first step to strong branding is understanding who’s actually in your audience. What are their demographics, psychographics and needs? What do they actually talk about online, and how can your brand add a unique perspective? Who, exactly, would benefit from knowing your brand?

For example, let’s say you’re selling premium coffee subscriptions delivered to your customer’s door. Your target audience might look something like the following:

  • Age: 23-45 years
  • Income: $40,000-$150,000 annually
  • Education: college or higher
  • Occupation: business professionals, freelancers and remote employees
  • Location: urban and suburban areas in the U.S.
  • Interests: enjoys quality coffee as a part of their daily routine but doesn’t have the time or desire to visit a café daily
  • Pain points: desires a consistent coffee experience without leaving home
  • Communication channels: Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram and YouTube

You can glean information about your target audience by closely monitoring your competitors’ social channels, reading reviews and complaints, speaking with top buyers, conducting surveys and monitoring the analytics on your business website. Knowing what analytics tools are available to you is a key consideration in understanding how to make a website. For example, Wix Analytics can give you in-depth insight into exactly who your customers are, where they’re coming from and how to leverage that into sales.

By creating this type of profile, you can better narrow down your social media branding and marketing strategies right down to the type of content you’ll produce, the tone you’ll adopt and the platforms you’ll use.

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Instagram branding

02. Choose the appropriate platforms

When it comes to selecting which social media platforms to focus on, quality is more important than quantity. Spreading yourself too thin across multiple channels can dilute your focus and impact. Instead, concentrate on one to three key platforms where you can post high-quality content and engage effectively with your target audience.

Every social channel comes with its own metrics, demographics, tools and quirks, which may help you determine which platforms are best for your business.

According to a report by Social Media Examiner, most marketers agree that Instagram is the best channel for increasing brand awareness and exposure, followed closely by YouTube, TikTok and others. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Instagram: 76%
  • YouTube: 73%
  • TikTok: 73%
  • X: 71%
  • Facebook: 69%
  • LinkedIn: 67%

The same report shows, however, that nearly all business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses place their primary focus on Facebook and Instagram. By contrast, most business-to-business (B2B) businesses focus on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, respectively. YouTube, X and TikTok were a much lower priority for both B2B and B2C marketers.

03. Create business accounts to access advanced tools

Some solopreneurs may choose to build their business brand off of their personal brand, opting to keep their personal social media handles. But for most businesses, it makes sense to create unique business accounts for each social media channel, even if you don’t have any social media content to share just yet. A business account gives you access to invaluable tools, such as the ability to promote posts and track engagement.

In creating your business accounts, you’ll want to upload a business logo or professional profile picture, insert a branded link back to your business website and write a brief bio or description that encapsulates what your business is about. As you flesh out your business accounts, keep these elements in mind:

  • Consistency: Check that your branding, like logos, social profile name and color schemes, are consistent across all platforms to help with brand recognition.
  • Contact info: Make sure to include all relevant contact details. Many customers will seek this information through your social profiles.
  • Pinned posts: Use pinned posts to highlight key messages or promotions. Pinned posts are the first thing visitors will see when visiting your profile.
  • Platform-specific features: Take advantage of unique features on different platforms. For instance, you can thoughtfully organize themed boards on Pinterest or curate a series of Story Highlights on Instagram. Across platforms, use a link in bio tool like Hopp by Wix to direct followers back to your website.

04. Craft your brand persona

A well-defined brand persona guides the tone, style and content you share with your audience. More importantly, a brand persona humanizes your business, making it more relatable and memorable.

To create your brand persona, start by writing down adjectives that describe your brand. You can also scope out your competitors to see what has been resonating well with their social audiences.

Key components of a brand persona include:

  • Tone of voice: Decide whether your brand is formal, friendly, sarcastic or any other tone that aligns with your target audience.
  • Visual style: Choose colors, fonts and types of imagery that represent your brand’s personality.
  • Core values: Identify two or three values that your brand stands for. Make sure your social media content reflects these values.
  • Authenticity: Always keep it real. Respond to your followers in a way that ensures them that a genuine, caring and authentic human being is on the other end of the conversation.

05. Set your brand guidelines

Brand guidelines are a set of rules and standards that define how your company presents itself to the world, ensuring a consistent identity across all channels. To set effective brand guidelines, you’ll want to first identify your target voice, tone and messaging to ensure that your brand’s communication aligns with its personality. Then, set rules for all design components your brand should use to keep visual elements cohesive and professional.

Create a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow document where all this information is accessible. Some key components to include are:

  • Logo usage: Specify how and where the logo should appear, including size constraints, color variations and what background it can be placed on.
  • Color palette: Define the primary and secondary colors that represent your brand. Provide the exact hex codes so there is no variation.
  • Typography: Choose fonts for headings, subheadings and body text, making sure they are readable and reflect your brand persona.
  • Imagery: Establish rules for the types of images that can be used. This includes the style of photography, iconography and whether or not certain types of images are off-limits.
  • Tone and voice: Describe the tone your brand should adopt. Are you authoritative, casual or inspiring? This will influence not just what you say but how you say it.
  • Messaging: Set some key phrases, slogans or taglines that can be used universally across your branding on social media. Keep your value proposition in mind.
  • Hashtags: Create a list of unique hashtags that represent your brand and incorporate a few popular hashtags that align with your business. Consistently used hashtags become a recognizable part of your brand and make your content more discoverable.
  • Legal and compliance: Make sure to include any legal disclaimers or guidelines for usage to protect your brand. This is particularly important if you’re in a regulated industry.

See it in action: Wix user Revival Coffee is a prime example of mastering cohesive branding across online and social channels. Texas-based restaurateur Gabriela Bucio refers to her local coffee shop as “unapologetically pink,” and the eye-catching color is consistent across her website, Instagram page and TikTok account in abundance. Her iconic pink hue has even made its way onto her menu in the form of pink fried donuts and pink glitter conchas.

06. Create high-quality content

Branding on social media doesn’t always have to be about your business. Instead, focus on offering value to your audience, whether it’s informative, entertaining or resolves a particular problem they have.

Quality content helps position your brand as an authority in your field. It can also drive engagement and sharing, expanding your reach and customer base. Most importantly, it reflects your brand’s standards and values. Your content strategy should take the following points into consideration:

  • Relevance: Cater to your target audience’s interests, needs, questions or pain points.
  • Originality: Offer fresh perspectives, data or insights.
  • Well-researched: Cite reputable sources, use accurate data and make sure your content is factual.
  • Good visuals: Use eye-catching images, videos or infographics to break up text and make your content more engaging.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Use keywords naturally within your content to improve its visibility online, but don’t keyword-stuff.
  • Tone and style: Make sure your content aligns with your brand’s voice and guidelines for consistency across all platforms.

07. Implement a content calendar

A content calendar outlines the what, when and where of the content you’ll post. It keeps you consistent, ensures you’re hitting your target audience at the ideal times and saves you from last-minute scrambles. Below are a few tips for fleshing out your content calendar:

  • Identify content types: Start by identifying different types of content that align with your brand and audience needs. Examples may include how-to guides, industry news, product announcements and user testimonials.
  • Repurpose existing content: Maybe you had a viral Facebook post or a popular Instagram Story. You can take that content and spin it off into a blog post, YouTube video or TikTok to capitalize on an existing social media success.
  • Plan for seasonal campaigns: Plan special campaigns around holidays, seasons or special events relevant to your business. This creates a sense of urgency and can boost engagement and sales for a limited period.
  • Create content series: Brainstorm easily repeatable series you could share across your social channels. For example, a clothing boutique may post an “outfit of the day” on Instagram featuring items sold in their shop.
  • Plan a month at a time: There are several free social media content calendars available online to help you visualize and schedule your content weeks at a time. For example, HubSpot offers a downloadable spreadsheet, or you can use AirTable’s social media calendar template online.
  • Manage asset creation: Write your content and build your graphics in weekly or monthly batches so that all the pieces are ready to go. If you need inspiration, try an AI content generator like ChatGPT to help you brainstorm post ideas based on the information you provide about your business and your goals.
  • Schedule your posts: Social media management tools, like Wix’s built-in social post scheduler, make it easier to schedule posts to all of your social media accounts from one place.

08. Engage with your community

Reply to comments, answer queries and even hop on trending topics if relevant to your business. Try posting activities like polls, quizzes or Q&A sessions to boost engagement. Keep in mind that posts with higher engagement boost your visibility and build a community around your brand.

You don’t have to sit parked at a computer or on your smartphone replying to comments all day long, but responsiveness should be a priority to foster a better customer experience.

“Most reasonable customers don’t expect a response within two minutes,” says Drew Balis, social media manager at Wix. “But if you can carve out an hour or two per day to ensure you’re getting back to customers within 24 or so hours, they’ll feel heard, acknowledged and appreciated.”

You shouldn’t just stick to your own social channels, either. Balis notes that it’s important to keep tabs on what may be being said about your business in third-party circles. “In addition to responding to your notifications and mentions on platforms like [X], Instagram and LinkedIn, you can proactively search for any additional conversations taking place about your business and jump in appropriately,” Balis says.

Remember that engagement is a two-way street. Irrelevant content or inconsistent posting will alienate your audience, no matter how much you try to engage. So, balance quality content with meaningful interactions, treating your social media branding efforts as an integral part of your business strategy.

09. Leverage user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is a virtual goldmine for your business. Because consumers make the content, it’s often more authentic and relatable. UGC boosts your brand’s credibility through social proof and enriches your content without extra effort.

“Oftentimes, the most powerful marketing comes from people and not brands,” Balis states. “If we take an extreme example, Coca-Cola could film a commercial for a new flavor telling you how great it is and tout elements like taste, [how refreshing it is], etc, but you’re much more likely to go try a new Coke flavor if your best friend—or an everyday person—recommends it.”

The data confirms it. A recent study by Entribe reveals that 83% of customers are more likely to purchase from brands sharing real consumer content.

Here are some ways to encourage social media engagement for UGC:

  • Reviews and testimonials: Make it easy for satisfied customers to share their experiences and then feature their reviews on your social platforms, always giving credit and thanking them for their input.
  • Hashtag campaigns: Ask customers to share their experience or how they use your product by posting and tagging with a unique, brand-specific hashtag.
  • Contests: Who doesn’t love free stuff? Organize a social media contest where users have to share your product or make a post related to your brand to enter the content. This generates buzz and a wealth of UGC.
  • Customer spotlights: Reach out to customers with unique or compelling stories about your product and feature them on your social media channels.
  • Repurposed content: When you find high-quality UGC related to your brand, ask permission to feature it in your marketing or website.
user generated content in Instagram Stories

10. Work with influencers

Working with social media influencers can boost your brand visibility in a way that feels more organic to potential clients. Influencers come equipped with their own positive brand and well-established audience, which your business can “inherit” as part of its own. The key to effective results is forming a natural partnership between your business, your community and the influencer.

When you’re looking for collaborators, there are a few key steps you should take:

  • Identify your goals: Decide if you’re aiming for increased brand awareness, more sales, increased engagement, etc.
  • Research and vet influencers: Look for influencers who align with your brand values and have a genuine audience (not bots) that overlaps your target market. Don’t get swayed by popularity; even micro-influencers with smaller followings can make a significant impact if their niche resonates with your brand. Just make sure that they post consistent, high-quality content.
  • Do outreach: Contact influencers through email or direct messages. Start by introducing your brand and explaining why you think a partnership would benefit both parties.
  • Discuss the partnership: Once an influencer shows interest, take some time to get to know them on a more personal level and evaluate their fit with your brand. Some influencers may serve better as short-term arrangements, while others may become long-term partnerships as the relationship grows. You’ll want to discuss compensation, timeline and the content you expect for each partnership.
  • Track your results: Use analytics tools to measure key performance indicators like engagement, reach and ROI to determine the campaign’s success.

11. Use paid advertising wisely

Paid ads can amplify your reach if well-targeted. To be cost effective, you’ll want to ensure that your messaging and branding are actually driving a healthy click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate, not just boosting vanity metrics. These rates can vary depending on the industry you’re in, what social channel you’re using and even the time of year.

It’s helpful to go in with a plan of attack, like the following:

  • Define your goals: Know what you aim for, such as brand awareness, increased engagement, etc.
  • Choose a platform: Pick the social platform where your target audience is most active.
  • Budget wisely: Use the platform’s tools to set appropriate spending limits.
  • Create targeted ads: Reach ideal customers using demographic targeting such as age, location, interests and behaviors.
  • Craft quality content: Use compelling visuals and content aligned with your brand and voice, along with a clear call to action (CTA).
  • A/B test: Run different versions to find what works best.
  • Monitor and tweak: Regularly check the performance of your ad campaigns and tweak them as needed for better results.

You can create, monitor and modify Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns directly through your Wix dashboard. Having all of these tools in one place ensures an organized and stress-free workflow, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.

12. Keep tabs on your competitors

It’s important to monitor your competition to understand how you measure up, and to identify opportunities or weaknesses that you can capitalize on.

For example, let’s pretend you sell custom water bottles focusing on sustainability. You might find competitors that offer custom water bottles, but hardly mention sustainability. On the other hand, smaller eco-friendly shops might highlight their sustainability, but not offer customization. That’s a gap you can squeeze into.

Now, fine-tune your strategy by observing when your competitors post to social media and when their followers are most active. Look for high-engagement threads and use these posts to brainstorm similar but unique posts as part of your own social media optimization strategy.

website and social media branding cohesion

13. Monitor and adapt

Maintaining a well-oiled social media branding strategy is an ongoing task. Regularly check analytics and periodically perform a social media audit to ensure brand consistency and optimal performance, plus identify what’s working and what needs adjustment.

Balis notes that while insights are highly valuable, they usually don’t require complicated tools or studies. “You could set up simple A/B tests to measure content that your followers like and dislike,” he advises. A few examples: red backgrounds vs. blue background (or whatever your primary brand colors happen to be), posting in the morning vs. the afternoon, short copy vs. longer copy, etc.

“From there, you can begin to optimize your content and double down on what you believe to be working best.”

Some additional insights you can use to refine your strategies include:

  • Engagement metrics: Look at likes, shares, comments and click-through rates to understand what content resonates with your audience.
  • Audience demographics: Most social platforms have built-in analytics so you can monitor your audience’s age, location and interests. Adapt your branding message accordingly.
  • Posting times: Check when your audience is most active and adjust your social calendar to match those peak times.
  • Return on investment (ROI): Track conversions or leads generated through social media to ensure your branding efforts translate into business outcomes.
  • Keywords: Track which keywords related to your brand are trending, and use this to create or adapt content.

Benefits of social media branding

Nailing your social media branding strategy offers you many benefits, including:

  • Long-term relationship building: By consistently engaging online, participating in meaningful conversations and keeping your brand top of mind, you can strike up more authentic relationships, which can lead to higher sales.
  • Consistent brand identity: You can create a unified brand voice, aesthetic and message across all platforms. This consistency can make your brand instantly recognizable and trusted.
  • Reputation management: Effective branding gives you more control over your business’ public image. You can use social media platforms to communicate your values, mission and vision, which can help minimize misunderstandings or miscommunications if they occur.
  • Customer engagement: Branding encourages more meaningful interactions with your audience. This engagement goes beyond likes and shares to creating dialogues that help you understand customer needs and preferences.
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