Tell me if this sounds familiar. You have a suite of new clients who want to increase their brand awareness amongst consumers.
One client might be in fashion, one in education, and the other in finance. Customers are converting well at the bottom of the funnel, but your clients are still having trouble scaling that audience.
They’re relying on you to answer this one, big question: How can they increase brand awareness?
If you don’t have the answer off-hand, it’s okay. You’re not alone. According to Sprout’s 2018 Social Index, social marketers’ top priority this year is to increase brand awareness.
That’s why I’m here to help.
Here are six practical tactics you can use right now to increase brand awareness and build your brand awareness strategy.
1. Guest blog for other sites
It’s important for brands to run their own blogs and build owned audiences, but they can only drive so much mileage from these assets. Once those page-views and email subscribers start to plateau, you need a fresh strategy to get new eyes on to a brand’s website and increase brand exposure.
That’s where guest blogging comes in. This is the process of writing and pitching blog posts for another publication.
Here’s how you do it:
- Research blogs and publications in your industry by searching for industry keywords and guest posts via trusty ol’ Google and social channels. For that client in education, for example, a quick search of ‘education guest blogging’ brings you this list of education blogs that accept guest posts. From here, you can find examples like this one from the Christensen Institute on GettingSmart.com:
As Neil Patel suggests, you can also Google ‘guest post guidelines’ and ‘guest post by’ in your industry to find sites that accept guest submissions. Or you can use platforms like MyBlogGuest and this collection of 500+ sites from BuzzBlogger to aid in your quest.
- Make a list of the guest-post accepting sites that your brand is a good fit for. Check each site’s blog content, comments’ sections, and social channels to better understand who their audiences are and how they engage with the content. You’ll want to make sure that you can provide content that fits into their offerings, while also offering a fresh take.
- Brainstorm ideas for blog posts that can include your unique and helpful insights. Make sure they haven’t been covered on the sites you reach out to.
- Email each site with your pitches according to their submission guidelines. You may even want to write an entire post and let editors know it’s ready to go.
Once they bite, you gain access to an entirely new audience and the publication gains free content from a new industry voice.
2. Run social media ads
Chances are, your client’s brand has a social media presence, but they have trouble growing their followings and engagement metrics.
By running brand-awareness ads, you can reach new people who might be interested in your client’s brand and even target audiences based on specific behaviors and preferences. Ads also help brands circumnavigate pesky algorithms that can hurt organic reach.
On Facebook and Instagram, you can launch brand-awareness campaigns that improve your reach and recall. Facebook recommends using video and carousel ads (which include a series of media) to target users who might be interested in your messaging. In fact, you can target audiences by categories such as age, location, gender, interest, and device. You can even create ‘lookalike’ audiences of people who are similar to your client’s existing audience so you can reach those who are most likely to convert.
On Twitter, you can launch brand-awareness campaigns by promoting your tweets and paying for impressions instead of engagements. You set your bid amount per 1,000 impressions and Twitter optimizes your campaign for the best possible reach.
Here’s a helpful example for that finance client. Turkish bank Akbank ran Instagram Stories ads to increase brand awareness. The Stories featured videos of young men and women singing a Turkish pop song that was rewritten to convey their hopes and dreams for the future.
3. Deploy native advertising
As it borrows the credibility of the site you’re running ads on, native advertising offers one of the most effective strategies for increasing brand exposure and winning over new customers.
Say you serve up native ads on publications like The New York Daily News or CBS News. You gain the access and trust of their large reader bases by providing recommended content at the ends of their articles, like this:
Take Samsung Life, the arm of Samsung that provides insurance services. To promote their products, they partnered with Taboola and ran native ads for articles like ‘How Much Should We Save Each Month?’ and ‘What Will My Tax Savings Be?’ As a result, Samsung Life delivered over 13,000 new insurance quotes in six months.
The allure of native ads is easy to see. They’re non-intrusive, easily scalable, and customizable with relevant messaging. They fit seamlessly into their surrounding content so they don’t disrupt someone’s reading or viewing experience.
That’s why it’s expected that native advertising will make up almost 60% of the digital display market this year, amassing $32.90 billion in spend.
4. Partner with influencers
If you’re having trouble connecting with your target audience, you may want to try reaching them through their favorite creators and influencers. Consumers trust recommendations from influencers more than traditional advertisements or even celebrity endorsements. Brands earned an average of $7.65 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing in 2017.
Similar to guest posting, agents can start influencer-marketing campaigns by finding influencers in their industries and reaching out with partnership ideas. You can do this by simply searching relevant keywords on social channels and sifting through the posts for influencer content.
You can also search the #sponsored hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to see which influencers are already working with brands in your industry. You might even use influencer-marketing platforms like Upfluence and Traackr to do the legwork for you. Once you find the right influencers, you can either gift them free products in exchange for reviews or pay them to create content on a brand’s behalf.
Boutique wallpaper brand Milton & King, for instance, increased brand awareness by partnering with Instagram and blogging influencers. They tapped 45 creators to collectively produce over 150 pieces of content featuring Milton & King wallpaper, like this design from Haneen of Haneen’s Haven.
As a result, the brand reached over 980,000 people, drove over 80,000 social engagements, and generated over 10,000 new social followers.
5. Create shareable infographics
Shares are crucial for reaching new audiences on social media. They help ensure that your content gets seen by people beyond your follower base and they help build organic reach in the wake of pesky algorithm changes. This is especially true on Facebook, where the algorithm favors shares from friends and family over posts from brands.
One of the most shareable content formats out there is the infographic. They’re visually engaging, easy to consume, and more fun to read than a regular article. Consider that the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text and 94% of blog posts with visuals get more engagement.
That’s why brands and publications like KISSmetrics use infographics to increase brand visibility. In just two years, the company created 47 infographics, like this one about how page-loading time can cost you:
These infographics generated over 41,000 tweets, 2.5 million visitors, and 41,000 backlinks from 3,700 unique domains.
6. Improve your SEO with keywords
Search engine optimization (SEO) may seem intimidating, but it’s actually simple to implement — and it’s vital to a brand’s exposure online. It basically involves getting your content seen by search engines like Google and placed on search results pages.
Here’s how you can use keywords to improve your SEO today:
- Research keywords in your industry and content categories. These are words that your target audiences are searching to find companies like yours. When optimizing for brand awareness, you want to focus on incorporating informational keywords into your content. These are keywords that match searches of people beginning the buyer journey and looking to learn more about which products are out there. You can use tools like SEMrush and Moz Keyword Researcher to help you to find the most important keywords in your industry and among your competitors.
- Build content around these keywords. Say you’re a fashion retailer and you find that a lot of people are searching for ‘fall boots’. You might create a post titled, ‘5 Fall Boots to Kick Off the New Season.’
- Once you have your keywords ready, be sure to incorporate them into the headline, body, and image titles of your post. The more mentions, the easier it is for Google to pick up your post.
Red flag: Just be sure not to stuff your posts with too many keywords, because Google will penalize you for it!
Your toolkit to increase brand awareness.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to increasing brand exposure and brand visibility. But when your clients phone and flood your inbox with questions, you need to provide answers — fast.
And now you can.
Whether you’re helping clients in fashion, education, finance, or tech, you’re now armed with a toolkit of brand-awareness campaign ideas that you can use to get the word out and build your audiences. Since these tactics span platforms, content formats, and budgets, they should provide the perfect mix to help you get started and, most importantly, drive those customers down the funnel.
Remember that scenario I outlined up top? Once you begin launching these strategies, that won’t sound so familiar anymore — and, yes, that’s a good thing.