For your organization to continue to grow and succeed, it will have to build brand equity.
This is a term that has been used for years to describe the power brands have, the edge they have on competitors, and how consumers connect and feel about an organization.
Although the importance of brand equity has not changed, how you build it up further in the competing digital sphere has evolved.
Below, I’ll explore the concept of brand equity, how it pertains to social media engagement, and tips for maximizing your brand’s equity through employees today.
Importance of Brand Equity
While I don’t want to spend too much time on this preliminary section, it’s important we still cover some basics as to why brand equity is increasingly important.
When your organization and the brand have positive equity, people will choose your brand more often and are willing to spend more money for the products or services. Audiences will respect your brand and be more inclined to feel connected to your company over competitors.
But remember, negative brand equity can quickly happen too and ruin your company reputation in the blink of an eye. When this happens, consumers will gravitate towards your competitors and lose that trust and support your company once had.
Increasing your brand equity includes:
- Increase loyalty to your brand
- Associate your brand with better values
- Increase overall brand awareness
- Improve quality of products or services
Examples of Brand Equity
Think to the brands you associate with that have good brand equity. Doesn’t matter if they are B2B or B2C, what niche, or if they offer products or services. You probably already had a few in mind as you started reading this post.
Here are a few that have built strong brand equity over the years.
The Power of Social Media
Naturally, building brand equity takes time and effort to connect with audiences. So there is no magic solution to creating a positive brand awareness, other than making a genuine effort to be a great company with great products or services.
However, over the years with the evolution of the internet and emergence of social media, people have access to companies even more than ever before.
This also has increased the needs of organizations to be actively present and engaging on social media to show off their values, products and services, and creativity. Transparency is now unavoidable for companies, and so it must be cultivated, curated, and valued.
While social media won’t solve all brand equity challenges, it can play a pretty big role in how audiences connect and perceive your organization.
People expect more from the brands, especially the ones they follow online. If your company doesn’t put a genuine effort into social media, you’ll quickly find competitors will dominate this space.
And social media is where word of mouth marketing happens, where people turn to engage with brands, employees, and company leaders. These social platforms have a huge impact on brand equity.
Here are some social media stats that show the sheer power of social media today:
- Nearly 50% of the world’s population uses social media. That’s over 3 billion users worldwide. (Statista)
- 54% of social browsers use social media to research products. (GlobalWebIndex)
- 74% of Facebook users check it daily. (Pew Research Center)
- 80% of consumers use social to engage with brands. (Forrester)
- Twitter has more than 330 million monthly active users. (Statista)
- As of late 2019, Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users, and 500 million of them use it daily. (Statista)
- Over 46% of all social media traffic to company websites comes from LinkedIn. (LinkedIn)
- 80% of social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn. (LinkedIn)
Building Brand Equity with Social Media
A brand’s online presence, particularly their social presence, can be an asset that builds brand equity, adding value to the consumer and the organization.
No brand will be perfect on social media, but it’s important that your company has a plan and strategy.
Remember, just like anything your brand does, a wrong move on social could impact your brand equity negatively. But completely avoiding the major social platforms is also doing your brand harm.
At this point, it’s safe to say that 99% of brands are actively on social media and engaging.
Here are the key components to ensuring brand equity growth with social media.
FYI: All of these should also be intertwined together to build the most effective brand equity with social media.
Social Media Advertising
While traditional advertising avenues like print and television are still popular, social media platforms have made reaching audiences easier for any brand.
The big platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have various targeting options and ways to reach specific audiences with content around your brand, product, or services.
Although costs are rising on these platforms and with tons of competition for space on people’s feeds, they are relatively affordable to reach a huge network of people and create a narrative around your brand.
You’ll need a paid social media strategy in place if you want to do this effectively. Some paid ads can be for more brand awareness and association, while other forms are related to sales and brand trust.
Having an employee advocacy strategy and platform in place has been around for a few years, but many brands are still catching on to the impact it has on brand equity.
A large part of how brands succeed is through word of mouth and recommendations from friends, family or colleagues. Additionally, we know from the statistics above that people turn to social media to research and learn about products, services, and other brands.
Employee advocacy is about encouraging and engaging employees to contribute sharing and creating content for social media on behalf of the brand.
As an example, Adobe has 900+ employees sharing their work stories, culture, and more on social media — that has a combined social reach of 3+ million! Read more about their use case.
- 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company. (Weber Shandwick)
- A recommendation from a friend or family member makes 83% of Americans more likely to purchase that product or service. (Convince & Convert)
We’ve found that employees have an average of 1,000 social connections and can help drive more brand equity and help personalize the brand further.
Humanized Social Content
While running an employee advocacy program increases your social reach and positions your employees more as the face of the brand, your organization still needs more humanized social content.
Beyond activating employees on social media, your company’s branded accounts still play an important role on social media and for brand equity.
Whether your social content is scheduled or shared natively in the platforms, write the copy and share insights as if your brand is an actual person. The traditional marketing copy and industry jargon does not have the same affect it once did and people are tuning this content out.
People know there is a team or individual beyond the scenes posting on these accounts, so use your voice and tone to drive engagement and conversations.
Building more engaging content that reads like an actual person helps drive more brand equity. Audiences are more engaged, interested in the content, and clicking to learn more. The social chatter increases, people pay attention to those brands that do not sound like a programmed sales robot.
Social Customer Support
One powerful way to continue to build brand equity with social media is via customer support. These social platforms have become a gateway for customers and prospects to have conversations directly with brands, get issues solved, or ask questions.
The more conversations and interactions your brand has with people, the better your brand equity and value becomes.
By working on quickly responding, providing transparency, and improving the social conversation experience your engagement in turn will invite stronger positive views of your brand, products, and services from the individuals that are interacting but outside audiences watching too.
There are a few social media stats around customer support, but here are two I found interesting:
- If you don’t respond to comments on social media, it can lead to a 15% increase in churn rate. (Gartner)
- Answering a social media complaint can increase customer advocacy by as much as 25%. (Convince and Convert)
But these social conversations can help all areas of your business too, going beyond and supplementing customer support.
Social customer support can give your HR teams insights into new potential hires and how people view the work culture.
It can help product or service teams understand where they are excelling or need improvement based on customer social interactions.
But all of these areas will greatly impact brand equity and awareness.
Building brand equity can take time and effort, but the long-lasting benefits positively impacts the growth of your organization. And there are multiple areas for your company to pay attention to that ensures your brand is viewed positively and creates supporters for the foreseeable future.
One of the modern ways to continue building brand equity is through social media. And hopefully the above tips are actively in place or are being considered.
You’ll find that your organization is better connected to audiences, driving more sales, and generating more interest from top talent wanting to work for your company.