9 Ways to Increase Brand Awareness

(To the tune of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas…)

On a dark night in early February 2013, not a football player was stirring in New Orleans.

It was Super Bowl night, and the power was out; all through Facebook and Twitter, people wondered aloud:

“Where is our football game? Why won’t it show?” Until one voice responded: “Hey look, an Oreo!”

Oreo’s tweet, now famous—“You can still dunk in the dark”—was a smart, timely way to spread branded snark.

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But take heed, dear reader, should you try to sell your products and solutions on social media “shelves.”

No matter how playful your pop-culture roast, readers may not respond to self-promotional posts.

They tune out content that doesn’t engage them on platforms designed just for engagement.

If you want to increase brand awareness for real, the nine tactics below can help seal the deal:

  1. Ask your existing audience on Facebook and Twitter what problems or obstacles they have to feeling good about their finances.

The best way to understand a potential client’s problem is to ask your current audience what issues they face. Social media platforms can help your brand connect directly with people, whether they follow you or not. Engage people in your network and ask what obstacles they have, fixes they need, etc.

(You can also promote your Facebook post or Twitter card to help people outside your network see your questions and answer them.)

  1. Send a survey to email addresses in your newsletter subscriber list to get more targeted, in-depth responses.

Want to go a step further? Create a brief survey using questions that can get to the heart of financial problems your members face. You can deliver your survey to email addresses in your newsletter subscriber list or current member list.

(There are a number of survey tools out there. We use SurveyMonkey, a free online survey builder, to develop the annual IMN Content Marketing Survey.)

  1. Curate other people’s work and ideas that point to common financial issues and possible solutions or fixes on your social media channels or email newsletter.

The first step to building awareness doesn’t stop at asking. You also need to illustrate potential financial problems people face – problems that your brand can solve.

To illustrate those issues, provide examples found in external sources. You can share curated articles, infographics, and stories of people struggling with problems your audience may face on your brand’s social media platforms.

(If you have an email newsletter, you can share those curated articles in your newsletter. It’s one more way to spread your argument to an interested audience.)

  1. Respond to your audience’s cries for help on social media in a helpful way, and leave the sales pitch at home.

The final tactic in the first step is to take time to respond to the responses you get from your audience. Potential clients will trust your brand more if you help them out when they need it, so it’s worth giving them advice and guidance for free.

In this context, you can hint that there are solutions to their problems. However, leave out the sales pitch for your financial products. Consumers don’t like brands that “sell” to them on social media, especially Millennials.

  1. Write a blog or newsletter series that provides simple, practical advice for your audience to follow to tackle their financial problem.

Another way to repackage that advice is to write a great series that shows possible solutions to your audience’s problems.

You can format the series in a few different ways. You can introduce possible solutions one by one and compare their benefits and disadvantages in individual posts. Or, you can list them and provide your expert opinion on the best choice for potential members.

(Need help getting that content to your audience? An email marketing service that delivers newsletters with original content may be a perfect fit if you lack free time to write.)

  1. Feature your top financial advisor or your brand’s president in a relevant publication or newsletter to talk about ideal solutions to common financial issues.

Long-form content published in an external channel—such as an article published on The Financial Brand, Insurance & Technology, or Credit Union Times—can help strengthen your brand’s position as an industry thought leader. It can also increase brand awareness by putting one of your best people in front of an engaged, interested audience.

Make sure your article contains relevant, accurate research and sound advice. You want to illustrate your audience’s potential problems and guide them to the right solution.

(Pro tip: Make sure your suggested solution is one your brand can provide. It may frustrate your audience if they hear about an ideal product from you and then can’t get it with your service.)

  1. Develop and distribute a white paper that compares and reviews financial products and policies for consumers.

White papers can take your audience on a figurative journey. The introduction should illustrate the problem their peers face. The body—the meat and potatoes of your white paper—should guide them on a journey of possible choices. The conclusion should present a clear winner in solving their problem.

You can draw upon customer data and responses from earlier surveys to understand what issues are most compelling for your audience. Make sure your white paper solves that pain point—and that it’s one your brand successfully solves.

  1. Talk to members and find out how your brand helped them succeed; then, share that story in a news release, case study, or short video.

The last step to building brand awareness is to connect the dots for your readers between a great solution and your brand. What better way to do that than with a client testimonial?

Depending on the size of your organization and the depth of your information, you can release a short video, a news release, or even a case study. No matter the format you choose, you will want to focus on your client’s story and how your brand helped them achieve success.

  1. Develop advertisements for traditional and digital media that focus on specific, searchable key terms and products.

Finally, use the home page of your website and advertising—traditional and digital—to show the people who need help the most that your brand is there for them. Make sure your ads target a specific solution that serves a specific audience. Generic ads aren’t too compelling for any audience.

Conclusion

So, to increase brand awareness for your financial brand:

  1. Ask around on social media.
  2. Send out a survey.
  3. Curate other people’s work.
  4. Give helpful advice for free.
  5. Write a blog or newsletter series.
  6. Publish a strong editorial piece.
  7. Distribute a white paper.
  8. Make a testimonial video or case study.
  9. Post specific, searchable digital and traditional ads.

And remember: It’s perfectly OK to use social media to talk about your industry and your members, but keep the sales pitch out of your posts.

Liked this post? Share the wealth on Facebook and Twitter. These tips may help content marketers in other industries increase their brand’s awareness.

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