I have come across a lot of marketing professionals and hiring managers who overlook brand awareness. I think they are too focused on engagements, conversions, customers, and brand advocates. I guess you can’t blame them; for a business to stay afloat, it must make a profit, and for that to happen, it must make sales, and sales come from an engaged audience that converts, become full-time customers, and eventually brand advocates.
But one thing these professionals forget is that brand awareness is the very first step in the marketing funnel. Prospects wouldn’t engage, convert, and become customers and advocates if they are first not aware of your brand.
I think the disinterest in brand awareness is because it’s pretty challenging to measure return on brand awareness. Trust me, it will be difficult if you are looking at brand awareness in solitude.
To me, it’s like, discrediting the warm-ups that you do before an exercise because they don’t burn the number of calories compared to lifting weights. If it wasn’t for the simple, sometimes seemingly meaningless warm-ups, your body wouldn’t even handle the simplest of weights. But I digress; this is a topic for another day.
According to Allie Decker, brand awareness represents how familiar your target audience is with your brand and how well they recognise it. Brand awareness might seem common amongst start-ups, mainly because they are still new and people don’t know about them. But well-established brands also focus their efforts on increasing brand awareness to remain relevant and attract new customers.
Some people refer to themselves as “Apple people,” “BMW people,” or “Adidas people,” – wait, I think I just described myself. Anyway, this is what brand awareness can do for a brand, and I don’t think I am the only person who advocates for Apple, BMW, and Adidas.
Okay, enough about me and the brand I spend most of my money on. Let’s get to why brand awareness is so important, especially in the digital age that we live in, specifically on social media.
Allie Decker shares my sentiments that for those marketers and business owners out there who like to gauge success with tidy numbers, brand awareness will likely ruffle their feathers because Brand awareness might seem like a vague concept, and in truth, it is.
Just because it isn’t a metric that can easily be determined, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have value. The following are just a few important benefits of brand awareness.
Importance of brand awareness, especially on social media.
Brand awareness is vital because it initiates brand recognition, foster brand recall, establishes brand trust, creates brand association and increases brand equity. As consumers, we tend to perceive a brand as good quality if it’s popular; more people are aware of it and use it. And most importantly, it’s not only that a brand is known, but rather what it’s known for, and such can only be archived through awareness.
Brand awareness initiates recognition.
We can recognise a specific brand, among others, brands we might not have been aware of through brand awareness. To build brand recognition, especially on social media, a brand must repeatedly provide consumers with a consistent visual or auditory learning experience through the content it shares. Mainly because brand recognition is developed by reach, frequency, and consistency.
Recognition of brand can happen, for example, while scrolling through your social media feed and seeing a sponsored post by a specific brand. Once you notice the sponsored content, you recognise the brand and become aware of the brand immediately.
Next time when you are making a purchase decision, your brain looks at the same brand and immediately takes a decision because you recognise it.
Brand awareness fosters recall.
Brand recall plays a vital role in retaining your existing customers and getting them to buy more of your products or services.
Brand recall is different from brand recognition in that it does not come from the external incentive. Consider that your toothpaste is over and you need to buy a new one. Different brands are going to pop up in your mind. That would be a brand recall. However, without brand recognition, there can be no brand recall. And without brand awareness, there can be no brand recognition.
Another example of brand recall is that, when I talk of premium automobiles, you might think of Audi, Mercedes or BMW. Or if I ask you about your favourite soft drink, most of us will recall Pepsi or Coca Cola.
Brand awareness establishes trust.
In an age where consumers are more knowledgeable and do extensive research before purchasing, brand trust is critical. Once trust is established, consumers are more likely to buy a product repeatedly with little to no forethought.
And that brand trust is established by brand awareness. Brand awareness efforts give your brand a personality and outlet to be sincere, receive feedback, and tell a story.
Brand awareness creates an association.
Brand awareness helps with associating the actions we take daily with particular brands, which leads to subconsciously replacing common words with branded terms. Some of the common ones being used as verbs rather than nouns are Google something or Facetime a friend.
Brand awareness increases brand equity.
A brand establishes its brand equity by building brand awareness because brand awareness is the foundation of brand equity.
Allie Decker shares that once a consumer is aware of a brand, they start to recognise it without assistance, seek it out to make a purchase, begin to prefer it over other similar brands and establish loyalty. Brand loyalty not only spurs on other purchases but also inspires recommendations to family and friends.
How do you measure brand awareness on social media?
In articles I previously published, I defined and highlighted the most important social media metrics worth knowing”. I also went into detail to explain how to track and calculate the 7 most crucial conversion metrics. I then delved deeper into describing how to master the skill of calculating social media engagement rate.
Since we are on brand awareness, I have fourteen favourite metrics that I always go to when developing a social media strategy. The metrics I use to measure brand awareness on social media are always informed by the goals of the social media campaign and the brand’s overall objectives.
The table below summarises my favourite awareness metrics for tracking, calculating, and measuring brand awareness on social media.
|Most popular social media awareness metrics|
|Post reach||Post impressions||Potential reach|
|Potential impression||Brand mentions||Video views|
|Social Share of Voice (SSoV)||Social media engagement (rate)||Share of engagement|
|Audience growth rate||Share of audience||Social media audience sentiment|
|Influence score||Conversation Rate (CoR)|
To learn more about each of the metrics mentioned in the table above, visit my article titled “Understanding the difference amongst the 14 most popular social media awareness metrics.”
The metrics listed in this article are ones that I personally deem essential for any brand looking to keep an eye on its brand awareness on social media.
According to Keyhole, what brand awareness metric makes the most sense to track will depend on how your company earns revenue or values its brand.
For example, if you’re a publication that earns money from sponsored social media posts, you likely care most about pure volume metrics like impressions and reach.
But, if you’re a B2B brand that does low-volume business in a niche industry, you may care more about the share of voice, audience sentiment, and engagement.
How to increase brand awareness on social media?
As mentioned in the section above, brand awareness is critical if you want to grow your business. Social media is a great place to increase your brand awareness. Because the more people know about your brand, the more of your product or service you’ll sell, and the use of social media is rapidly increasing in Africa.
Maintain brand consistency on social media
Brand consistency captures how a brand delivers its messages in line with its purpose, vision, core values, brand promise, positioning, customer experience, and overall brand expressions such as brand identity elements, brand persona and communication.
It is vital to maintain brand consistency to ensure that your brand is always “on brand”, which will increase brand awareness on social media and basically anywhere.
Consistency will ensure that people recognise your brand across all its different touchpoints, including social media. This creates a cohesive, consistent brand identity, unified experience for both existing and potential customers.
Previously, I mentioned that one of the crucial benefits of brand awareness is to establish trust. Therefore, to foster lifelong customers, brands need to build trust through brand consistency.
To ensure that your brand is consistent on social media, firstly, you should brand your social media profiles to ensure they follow your brand identity and brand guidelines, secondly maintain the same brand personality across all your all marketing channels and touchpoints to avoid confusing existing and potential customers and lastly, carry your brand purpose, vision, core values, brand promise, positioning, customer experience over to social media and ensure that they are present in your overall conduct to ensure that you don’t dilute your brand.
Use a separate content strategy for each social media platform
You shouldn’t restrict yourself to using just one social media platform. Ohiozoje Okugbe also agrees with me on this point and further adds that “at the same time, don’t make the mistake of sharing the same posts across all platforms.”
Users interact differently across the different social media platforms. Also, the structure of each social media platform differs from the other. What works on Instagram might not totally work or be as effective on LinkedIn. Instagram is structured for highly visual posts and short captions, while LinkedIn is ideal for long posts with minimal visuals.
I am sure you must be asking yourself if using a different strategy for each platform doesn’t contradict my previous brand consistency point. Well, I am glad your thoughts wandered that far. The answer is “No” because consistency ensures that your brand delivers what it stands for across all its different channels and touchpoints using other brand communication vehicles – the message delivered will stay the same. However, the delivery will differ based on the audience and social media platform.
Use visual content (video, images, GIFs, and infographics)
To ensure that people are aware of your brand and the content you share on social media, you must use a combination of visual content such as videos, images, GIFs and infographics to help your brand stand out.
The catch, however, is that you should ensure that whatever you post is relevant to your brand and of value to your audience.
The visual content should maintain a consistent brand identity even though the strategy of each platform will differ. Visuals that stand out will attract the right audience. Once people are attracted by your brand, they become aware of it, start engaging and have a higher chance of choosing your brand over competitors.
Don’t be afraid to tag influencers, brands, employees, customers, and others to get them talking
Tagging (@ mentioning) is a brilliant brand awareness strategy because it only takes about half a second and instantly amplifies your content.
Anyone you tag via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram instantly receives a notification, meaning they become aware of your brand. You win an extra opportunity for engagement. Posts with hashtags generate about 12.6% more engagement than posts with no hashtags. Not only that, but it’s a sure-fire way to make positive impressions on other players in your industry, Brent Barnhart adds.
Use hashtags to leverage trends and breaking news
Just like with tagging, posts with hashtags receive more awareness and engagement compared to those without. Hashtags can help you leverage trends and breaking news, making your posts searchable, while niche tags help your brand gain awareness in dedicated communities of potential fans.
Invest in advertising and promote pages and sponsor posts
Social media algorithms have changed drastically over the years, and organic posts don’t get as much reach as they used to. For example, Facebook’s organic reach is still declining; the average reach for an organic Facebook post is down to 5.2%. (For the record, at the end of 2019, it was 5.5%, and the year before that, it was 7.7%).
To ensure an increase in brand awareness on social media, every social media strategy needs organic and sponsored content. The beauty of sponsored ads is targeting. You can choose how you want to increase brand awareness based on geography, demographics, or other characteristics stored in the respective social channels you use. Targeting is an ideal way to put your brand in front of those who’ve never heard about it to initiate recognition or foster brand recall for those already aware of it.
Adroll advises that companies should invest in promoted posts and advertising via posts and stories because ads that come across as organic perform best and lead to more awareness, engagement, and conversions.
Engage, educate, and entertain
As mentioned above, establishing trust is one of the essential factors of building brand awareness. Engaging, educating, and entertaining your social media audience will help establish trust and foster brand recall and increase brand equity.
One of the best ways to engage with your audience is to quickly reply to comments and questions. Engaging with your followers will further help create an opportunity for them to learn about your brand. Furthermore, other followers or visitors will get a chance to also learn more about your brand by reading your responses to questions. If these responses are a good reflection of your brand, they’ll help you build trust with potential customers.
Above just replying to comments, other ways to engage your social media followers is to ask questions and use images, gifs, and videos in your posts. The more visual the content, the higher the chances people will be aware of it and engage.
It is also critical that your social media posts, even though engaging, not only focus on your brand and what it does. Take the opportunity to educate and entertain your audience while you have their attention.
Share exciting news, educate people about the latest trends, entertain them with valuable content, and encourage them to share your content.
Over a decade ago, the influencer marketing arena was limited to celebrities and a few dedicated bloggers. There has been a rise in social media influencers rise, to the point that the market is almost saturated.
Jenn Chen defines influencer marketing as social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche.
Working with influencers that speak to your target audience will benefit your brand and increase awareness. Joint partnerships with influencers can vary in structure. They may include exchanging content, packaging bundled giveaway offerings, and developing an affiliate fee structure; whatever the structure might be, your brand will ultimately have an increase in awareness.
Besides working with these influencers, it is best to follow them to learn how they engage with their target audience and what content they post and observe how their audience responds to them. Besides just watching from the sidelines, engage with them and take every chance you get to interact with their followers via comments, answers to questions, etc.
These acts will ultimately increase brand awareness and benefit your brand in the long run.
Use social media listening tool
The most detailed explanation of a social media listening tool is by Bianca-Rose Mao. She defines it as software that monitors and analyses online conversations about your brand, a specific topic, competitors, or anything relevant to your company.
A social media will alert you to engage the person who mentioned you, answer their questions, educate them about your brand or share entertaining information that they can share with their followers. Furthermore, you will track how well your brand is doing and what your consumers and the general public think of your brand.
There are high chances that nobody will be aware of your brand if you don’t post consistently. The more content you have, the higher the chances of people coming across it and being aware of your brand. The more ground you can cover, the better.
The only way to ensure that you are doing the right thing is to track and measure your progress. Pay attention to your social profiles’ awareness metrics and engagement statistics to see how much reach, impressions, and interaction your posts, ads, and other content are receiving.
Monitor the visibility of your posts to see if it’s trending upward or downwards. Tracking links on posts (e.g., bit.ly) or dedicated social media analytics tools will help you gather and analyse this information.
Social media listening tools can also help track your customers or the general public’s awareness of your brand. Tracking will allow you to implement changes that are necessary and capitalise on content that is performing well.
Social media has generated immense exposure for many brands. If managed well, social media will not only increase brand awareness but also inbound traffic, improve search engine rankings, drive high conversion rate, improve customer satisfaction, improve brand loyalty, drive more brand authority, and position your brand as a thought leader in its industry.
As the use of social media increases, especially in Africa, I urge you as a marketer, digital marketing professional, or social media manager to invest most of your time and effort in increasing awareness for your brand to increase engagement, conversions, and customers.