Guest post by Ron Stefanski.
According to recent statistics, 57% of companies in the U.S. say strengthening their brand is a top business objective. However, while most focus on brand awareness, it’s crucial to understand that brand awareness alone doesn’t create conversions and sales.
Brands also need influence in order to directly affect the behavior of their customers and make them more likely to identify with, relate to, or define themselves by the brand.
The more influencing power a brand has, the easier it will be for it to guide its audience on how they shop, interact, and behave. Furthermore, more influence equates to more aspirational qualities, which leads to increased brand loyalty and more brand ambassadors.
With that in mind, here are seven ways a B2B brand can increase its influence across various marketing platforms and realize the resulting benefits.
1. Practice Proper Channel Management
Brands compete for the attention of their customers in real-time, across various channels. This landscape is in constant flux, which presents companies with a huge challenge in increasing their influencing power.
An effective way to circumvent this problem is to practice proper channel management. This is particularly important for brands with customers who purchase via different routes and devices.
For example, a customer might:
- Discover a product while browsing videos on YouTube
- Use their work desktop PC to search for more information about a product on Google
- Check their Amazon app or social media sites for reviews from other customers
- Use a comparison tool on their phone to find the lowest price
- Order the product on their home laptop
- Use their smartwatch to make a payment via Google Pay
It’s vital in such situations for brands to be able to meet their customers where they are.
They must get their branding right while addressing their target market on the different platforms where they hang out, and with the exact type of messaging they expect to hear.
In such a highly fluid environment, brands need to practice effective channel management so they can leverage different factors (such as the dynamism of the market and multiple customer touchpoints during their purchase journey) in order to imprint their brand and create opportunities for increased influence.
Properly managing different channels will allow companies to get to know their customer, target their marketing, and harness the power of data so they can shape their future marketing.
Moreover, such brands will be in a much better position to align their brand and business strategies so they can mutually reinforce and complement each other for a more coherent marketing campaign.
2. Create Omnichannel Marketing Campaigns
Speaking of coherent marketing campaigns, another way to increase a brand’s influencing power is to use at least three digital marketing platforms to create effective omnichannel marketing campaigns.
This is crucial because in today’s fast-paced, multi-channel business landscape, people are turning to online sources to discover information that’s accurate and helps them solve common and complex problems. Brands must have an integrated, cross-channel marketing strategy to avoid wasting marketing dollars by unintentionally targeting the wrong audience.
Creating omnichannel marketing campaigns will also help brands maintain consistency of messaging so that their brand proposition matches the company’s strategic values or mission, making it easier for employees to not only “buy into”, but also live the brand.
Ultimately, having marketing campaigns on multiple channels will be vital to building trust and credibility with customers.
Consistent brands are perceived as more authentic, and without consistency across marketing channels, customers will perceive the brand as confused – or even worse, duplicitous!
So, having a coherent multi-channel marketing campaign will serve to get the brand’s information, tips, and advice out to the relevant audience through multiple channels and platforms, optimizing the opportunities for influencing consumer decisions.
3. Become a Brand Influencer on TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube
More often than not, customers gravitate towards brands that are leaders in their space (that’s what makes those brands leaders). This means brands should focus on being on the leading edge as opposed to being followers in their industry or niche.
One way to do this is by doubling down on social media marketing. Brands can use platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram to become influencers by promoting their brand story in images, text, video posts, and even live streams.
This is an effective way for brands to reach out to their customers and boost visibility and influence. Having a brand that rides trends, remains relevant, and speaks in a unique voice is a foolproof way of getting recognized at a glance.
However, social media marketing is no cakewalk – there’s a reason why there are businesses out there solely dedicated to it because of how intricate it can be. Choosing the proper platforms can make or break how successful your brand can be.
Keep in mind different social platforms have different content requirements, and ultimately cater to different business goals. So brands need to target their marketing to ensure they engage customers in the places where they are most likely to get conversions and sales.
Pro Tip: Leverage other influencers and brand advocates.
An effective way for brands to grow their influence is to have other influencers talk about and share their products/services. Audiences admire those influencers, which makes it a lot more likely that they will get conversions as brand advocates by focusing on the benefits they have realized from the product.
4. Build an Updated, Comprehensive Website as a Central Point for the Brand
Brands are so much more than just logos and slogans. There are a lot of other aspects of their offering, including company culture, customer service, giving back, etc.
Rather than spend all their time, money, and focus on promoting a website built for the world of the 2010s (or worse, the 2000s), companies can create an updated website easily with a website builder to use as the central point for the brand.
A 2020s website should act as a hub for all marketing activities, including email marketing, link-building, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), mobile marketing, PPC advertising, and much more.
Moreover, brands today can use their websites to build a community around their product or service.
Not only will they be able to pass on important knowledge and information to their audience, but by listening to the community, brands will be able to discover the best and most relevant types of content to produce, as well as ways to improve on their product or service offering so they can cater to the actual needs of their customers.
Another benefit of building a website and creating a community is that brands will be able to stay on top of the topics of conversation in their space so they can stay relevant at all times.
5. Create On-Site SEO Content
Yet another way to increase a brand’s influencing power is to create on-site SEO content in the form of landing pages, service/sales pages, and blog posts. These types of content pieces are integral components to becoming an influencer as they position the brand as a leader in its space.
On-site SEO content absolutely must be high-quality, original content. Content that is poorly written, unoriginal, or created using AI writing tools will defeat the purpose and possibly even get you penalized by Google and other search engines.
But with relevant, professional content, brands can demonstrate their knowledge and expertise to their readers. Not only will they be able to present themselves as the authority on that particular subject matter, but search optimization will make it easy for prospective customers to find the brand’s content online, making it more likely that they will increase their overall influence.
Best of all, brands can use content to link back to relevant posts written by other brands or influencers in their space.
Sharing and interacting with other people’s content in this way is a great strategy for gaining additional exposure and shares for your own content. Brands can even collaborate with other influencers in order to gain access to (and learn from) each other’s communities.
6. Integrate Social Proof into Social Marketing Campaigns
Trust and authenticity are two aspects of a brand’s power that should never be underestimated – and social proof can help companies achieve these two important factors.
Brands can integrate social proof into their social marketing campaigns as a way to earn their audience’s trust and make it more likely that they will ultimately convert into paying customers.
According to recent research, the majority of consumers are more likely to purchase a product when presented with social proof.
Brands can place social proof such as:
- Positive Reviews
- UGC (user-generated content)
Placing social proof at different stages of the customer journey helps you build trust with customers and encourage prospective buyers to purchase from the brand with confidence.
It has also been shown that most consumers check online reviews of any business they consider doing business with.
This means that brands have a lot to gain from publishing social proof as part of their overall marketing campaigns.
Social proof works so well because it’s the only type of marketing content that consumers not only like, but also constantly seek out on their own.
Faced with so many near-identical offerings from countless brands, it’s no wonder customers look to social proof as a way to differentiate brands to find the ones that speak to them, specifically.
Brands that understand this use social proof as an effective way to help their audience understand that they offer exactly what consumers are looking for.
7. Create a Professional Brand Appearance that is Easily Discoverable
Brands can use platforms like Facebook Business and Google My Business to create a professional online brand appearance that is easily discoverable by their target audience.
Brands must not only make themselves seen but make sure that they do so in ways that “humanize” their brand so the audience can feel a connection to the business.
To be “influential,” brands must not only be visible but also likable. That’s why it’s important to create profiles that appeal to the brand’s target audience so that they can relate to and want to follow and be associated with the brand.
The underlying message is that brands are not going to increase their influence in any area if they’re not integrating themselves into and making their work visible to the community. Being influential begins with consumers recognizing and becoming familiar with the brand’s name—and it all starts with a Facebook Business and Google My Business profile.
Maximizing a brand’s power comes down to embracing a few age-old lessons. Brands must know their customers, understand their market, and be true to their values.
Brands can use the seven tips outlined in this article to help them bolster their online influence so they can win (that is, influence) more purchase decisions in their favor.
Over to you. Which of these tips are you yet to implement in your own brand marketing strategy? Let us know below!
Ron Stefanski is a website entrepreneur and marketing professor who has a passion for helping people create and market their own online business. You can learn more from him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com. You can also connect with him on YouTube or Linkedin.