With over 4 billion active users on social media worldwide, it’s no surprise that businesses of all sizes are turning to these platforms to grow their brand and reach new audiences. However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. 

Growing your brand with social media

Social media has become a vital tool for businesses to connect with their audience, build their brand, and drive sales. With over 4 billion active users on social media worldwide, it’s no surprise that businesses of all sizes are turning to these platforms to grow their brand and reach new audiences. However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. 

In a recent roundtable with the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and haysmacintyre, we sat down with ten social media entrepreneurs and experts to discuss the best ways to grow your brand on social media, including successful strategies, how personal branding has changed, and what the future holds for social media marketing. Whether you’re just getting started with social media or looking to take your brand to the next level, this article will provide valuable insights and actionable tips to help you achieve your goals.


Authenticity is fundamental

Brianna Harvey, founder of Digital Flamingo kicked off the conversation discussing what she believes is the best way to grow your brand on social media, “Since Covid when we are craving that human to human connection, it is going back to social media’s main purpose, which is about people connecting with people. To grow your brand, you do have to show your human side, and that’s what’s gonna help you stand out because you are unique. Show behind the scenes, not just what you have to offer, but you know more about you and the story of your brand, that’s what will really help you stand out and get people to want to connect with you.”

Founder of Burstock Management, Sam Haywood added, “We’ve had some quite good success through basically building an audience through user generated content on TikTok. I think that just comes back to the authenticity of everything and really building that community. It almost doesn’t feel as if you are a customer or being sold to if it is coming from one of your favourite creators.”

“Everybody is now a content creator and people are creating content in a style that is so authentic to them.” says Oli Hills, founder of Nonsensical. “Brands used to win back in the day as they had bigger budgets. They could create content that people wanted to watch on the likes of Facebook and YouTube. Now, I think the most important thing for brands to do is to embrace the chaos that is user generated content, very authentic and lean into that because that’s what people are consuming day in, day out.”


The importance of storytelling

Sharing his experience during the early stages of Covid, Dan Maudhub, founder of Be Wonderful said, “I had CEOs and CMOs in the B2B space who had never heard of personal branding before. They didn’t really have their own voice on social media and were very much hidden behind the corporate firewall. What we’ve seen rapidly evolve since is the importance of having your own voice, your own authentic self, and telling your story through your personal brand.”

Adding to this, Amanda Baker, founder of 5 Stories said, “Where do you start with being authentic? Start with telling your story! If you are connected to your entrepreneurial story and you are clear about what it means to you and your business, then people will connect too.”


Engaging new audiences with video content

“TikTok and Instagram reels are a great way to reach a large number of people, you may only have a thousand followers, but you can reach over a million people if you have a really engaging video”, explained Martha Keith, founder of Martha Brook. “That content enables you to have new people coming in, finding out about your brand, and you can then convert those people into sales by building that relationship with them. By doing this, customers will feel involved in the business and get to know your brand on another level in a way that no other way a marketing channel can.”

Focusing on how building communities can increase social presence, Sam Edwards, founder of Social Acumen said, “10 years ago it was all about building Facebook pages, building a community, building this organic following around your content. That fell out of fashion as organic reach began to diminish on certain platforms, however now we’re coming back round to that idea, the onus from a brand perspective is to build these communities, to build a TikTok and Instagram following. Content has such a greater lifespan and potential reach now.”


Choosing the right platforms to fulfil your business requirements

Marketing & Social Media Strategist, Sascha Dutta discussed the importance of knowing what social media platforms to use for your business, “You’ve also got to pick the right platforms. For some businesses TikTok might not work, especially for B2B businesses, I think LinkedIn is a really powerful B2B platform. The engagement is better than it ever used to be and it is great if you are looking to connect with other businesses.”

Martha added, “One bit of advice I always give to other businesses starting out is to pick one social media platform and do it well. I think every platform has its own nuances, and it’s about thinking about where your audience is. Pick one platform and you will learn as you go with all the different intricacies about how good the algorithm works, and then you can build a community in that space. Once you’ve understood that, and built that up, then you can maybe transfer to other areas.”

Founder of Noise Creative, Adam Baldwin delved into the reality of small businesses creating authentic content and the costs that comes with this, “The reality for SMEs and brands is that the hardest thing when you’re growing a brand is to make decisions on where you should spend time because there’s huge opportunity costs. Should you create all this content for social media, that opportunity cost could be at the expense of product development, it could be at the expense of other things that a business can do.” 

“Social media causes us to direct our gaze to the latest, newest format, latest platform. But that might not necessarily be the right thing for your brand. Understanding platforms, the roles of platforms and being robust in your approach to making decisions is important, otherwise you can spend your time being busy at creating content, and that might not be the fastest route to grow a brand.”


Final thoughts

Krupa Shah, Senior Manager at haysmacintyre who hosted the session concluding by saying, “It was great to hear so many insights around growing your brand with social media. Social media creates opportunities for brands to connect with their customers on a more personal level.

Having an effective social media strategy is so important as it sets businesses apart from its competitors. Branding should be focused on communicating the core values & beliefs of the product or service, content creativity, choosing the right channels, building better connections with customers, and conducting ongoing consumer research. Huge part of brand success comes down to personal branding, authenticity, differentiation and delivering exceptional value which makes it compelling to the audience. Paying attention to trends on social media enables companies to create appropriate content that resonates over time.

In an ever-changing social media landscape and saturation of online campaigns, creativity and staying ahead of the curve is essential for success.