Brand, content and socials – what comes first?

The to-do list associated with first starting your business is massive. It’s overwhelming. You fully understand the weight of marketing it effectively; you know you need to create social media accounts for your business, you know you need content for those accounts and other platforms, and you know you need a means of turning your business into a brand. Having a structured and comprehensive strategy for each is essential to creating consistent communications for your business, but which comes first?

Looking inward for insight

A brand strategy is the root of your business’s identity – it tells the world the type of personality and goals your business represents. Having a water-tight approach to branding is the best means of keeping all your marketing aligned.

Take a moment to consider what kind of personality your brand emanates.

In what industry does your business operate?
What product or service does it offer – is it ground-breaking or problem-solving?
What market does your business serve?
Make your primary school teachers proud and ask yourself, ‘who, what, where, and crucially, why?’

These characteristics will feed every aspect of your branding and marketing going forward, so it’s best that it’s true to the direction of your business, and is not over-complicated.

Don’t settle for content

Your content strategy is where you determine how you are going to put your business forward to your chosen audiences. It takes your brand identity and wraps it up into a neat parcel of tailored messaging, ready for presentation to the world. It provides a plan for the development, output, and management of all of your content, including each of your earned, owned, and paid content.

This is also a means of figuring out what platforms will be most appropriate, according to which audiences you plan on reaching, and implementing search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices.  For instance, some demographics will be completely comfortable switching between a variety of social media platforms, while others may be more likely to read an 800-word blog on your website.

A huge asset in the content strategy process is utilising a Content Management System (CMS). These are software that does the heavy lifting for you in terms of the technical wizardry of web development. While there are many, you may have heard of some of the more popular ones such as WordPress, HubSpot, or Squarespace. Some are quite basic – both in terms of ease of use and their functionality – and some are more complex. Bear in mind however, that it is some people’s entire job to do this on behalf of their clients, so you could delegate that to a professional marketing team if you so desired.

Strategise and socialise

A social media strategy takes what you’ve established in your content strategy and shapes how you approach your varying audiences. The goal here is to clearly communicate your ‘what’, and your ‘why’, to your ‘who’. It also allows you the capability to address the ‘when’, as you have control over what day and time your content is published. While not every brand will advertise on social media, it is recommended for most, as 21.3 million Australians use social media, and further, 1 in 3 Australians use social media to research their brands.

A good social media strategy will provide a ‘social media mix’ – a breakdown of what content should go where accounting for which social media platform is more heavily used by certain demographics. This will be the key to isolating your target audience, and not over-spending unnecessarily on the wrong platform.

This type of strategy will also delve into data, ensuring that your brand is able to stand out against competitors on social media, that you’re utilising the right platforms, putting out content that aligns with your marketing objectives and business goals, and the nitty gritty stuff – best posting times, hashtags and community management recommendations.

So, what comes first?

If it wasn’t already obvious, there is a sequence in which it’s most effective to tackle your strategies. As laid out, and in order of importance, a brand strategy will tackle your ‘why’ so it comes first, followed by your content strategy as this is informed by your branding decisions, and then your social strategy comes next.

Each strategy informs the next, so while it’s not impossible to tackle this process in a different order you may find yourself double handling each step as you’ll be operating without some vital information that would otherwise funnel downwards from prior analysis.

Why it’s important to consider all three

Given that careful consideration should be spent on every step of this process, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details of each. While content, brand, and social strategies can work independently of one another, they primarily go together to attract and establish your ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, and ‘why’. These pillars help provide the structure for effective marketing, driving your business’s growth.

At SOAK, we have a strategy first, creative second approach. Whether you’re starting your branding process from scratch or are in need of help somewhere along the line, contact the strategy professionals at SOAK Creative today.

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