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Step 1: Define Your Brand and Audience

Building a strong brand on social media starts with a clear understanding of your brand identity and target audience. In this article, I walk you through implementing Step 1 of building your brand on social media on a budget - defining your brand and audience. You will learn how to define your core values, develop and write your brand message, and identify your ideal customers.

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Defining Your Core Values

Core values are the fundamental beliefs that guide your business decisions and actions. They shape your brand's personality and help you connect with your audience on a deeper level because they essentially give your audience something to connect with. This means that your core values essentially influence everything from your marketing strategies to customer interactions and business operations. These values matter because they ensure consistency in your branding and guide your business decisions, ensuring that what you do aligns with what you stand for.

To define your core values, start by reflecting on the principles that are most important to you and your business. Consider what motivates you and the standards you hold your business to. What values do you prioritise when it comes to your business operations and customer interactions, for example? This could include product quality, excellent customer service, sustainability, community involvement, or innovation. To determine your core values, start with brainstorming a list of values that resonate with you and your business, thinking broadly about things like as ethical behaviour, reliability, creativity, empathy, teamwork, etc.

Next, narrow down your list to the top three to five values that are most important to you. These should be the values that truly define your business and influence what you do on a daily basis. Ask yourself which values you would never compromise on and which ones reflect the core essence of your business. 

Next, when you have identified your top values, write a brief description of what each value means to your business. Doing this helps to ensure that your core values are consistently reflected in your actions and decisions and that you and your team understand and can communicate these values clearly. For example, if you chose quality as a core value, you might describe it as a commitment to providing the highest quality products and services to your customers, using the best materials, adhering to rigorous standards, and continually improving your processes. 

It can also be helpful to survey your team and ask what they think the core values of the business are. Involving your employees can reveal what values are already embedded in your company’s culture. You can also consider feedback from your customers to understand what they appreciate most about your business because their perspectives can highlight values that resonate with them. 

Crafting Your Brand Message

Your brand message is the essence of what your business stands for. It communicates your values, mission, and the unique benefits you offer to your customers. A well-crafted brand message not only highlights what makes your business unique but also helps differentiate you from your competitors and creates a lasting impression on your audience.

To begin writing your brand message, start by identifying your unique selling points (USP). Your USP is what sets your business apart from the competition. Consider the aspects that make your products or services unique and valuable. This could be anything from exceptional product quality, outstanding customer service, and innovative solutions, to special features that make your brand stand out. For instance, you might offer eco-friendly, handmade products that combine quality and sustainability, or perhaps your services are known for their personalised customer experience.

Once you have pinpointed your USP, the next step is to combine it with your core values to create a concise brand statement. This brand statement should reflect your brand's mission and promise to customers, including both what you stand for and what makes you unique. For example, if your core values include quality, integrity, and sustainability, and your USP is offering products made from 100% recycled materials, your brand statement might be:

"At EcoWear, we are committed to sustainable and ethical fashion. Our clothing is made from 100% recycled materials, ensuring minimal environmental impact while maintaining high quality and style."

This isn’t where the process of writing a brand message ends, though. To make your brand message truly resonate, you need to know exactly who you're talking to. This means taking the time to understand and define your target audience in detail. 

Understanding Your Target Audience

Understanding and defining your target audience begins with identifying the key demographic characteristics of your ideal customers, such as age, gender, location, and income level. For example, your target audience might be women aged 25-40, living in urban areas, with a mid to high income, and interested in sustainable living and ethical products.

Next, beyond demographics, consider their interests, values, lifestyles, and challenges. Think about what they enjoy doing in their free time, the values that matter to them, and the problems they experience that your product or service can solve for them. For example, they might be passionate about eco-friendly products but struggle to find affordable options.

However, simply knowing what your audience looks like isn’t enough. To make this information actionable, you need to create detailed profiles, or personas, of your ideal customers. These personas are essentially fictional characters that represent different segments of your audience. Imagine Sarah, a 30-year-old marketing manager who lives in a city, values sustainability, shops for eco-friendly products, and seeks quality and convenience. Or consider Emma, a 35-year-old stay-at-home mom who is passionate about reducing waste, prefers handmade and ethical products, and budgets for quality.

Knowing your audience deeply helps you develop a brand message that really resonates with them. When you understand their values and challenges, you can create a message that speaks directly to their needs and aspirations. For instance, if your audience values sustainability and ethical consumption, your brand message can highlight your commitment to these principles, making it more likely to attract and engage them.

Considering what we now know about our target audience, let’s revisit our brand message above and see how it changes: 


"At EcoWear, we are committed to sustainable and ethical fashion. Our clothing is made from 100% recycled materials, ensuring minimal environmental impact while maintaining high quality and style."


“At EcoWear, we are passionate about creating affordable, stylish fashion that doesn’t compromise on sustainability. Our clothing, made from 100% recycled materials, reflects our commitment to ethical practices and high quality. Join us in making a positive impact on the environment while looking great and staying true to what matters to you.”

Our new message places a stronger emphasis on affordability and style, addressing our target audience's concern about finding budget-friendly eco-friendly options. It also invites our audience to take part in making a positive environmental impact. These changes result in a new message that resonates more deeply with our audience's values and challenges, which helps them build a stronger connection with our brand.

Why do you need to understand our audience so well?

With your core values defined, your brand message written, and your target audience identified, you can now apply this knowledge to your social media strategy. We’ll get into this in more detail later in the series, but for now, just know that it's important that your social media content reflects your core values and brand message consistently. Use visuals, tone, and messaging that align with your brand. If sustainability is a core value (like our brand above), incorporate eco-friendly imagery and maintain a friendly, transparent tone that highlights your commitment to quality and sustainability. You need to create content that addresses your audience's interests and challenges, which is guided by your customer personas. You can share tips on sustainable living, provide behind-the-scenes glimpses of your eco-friendly processes, and feature customer testimonials, for example. This will engage your followers and show them you understand and care about their needs. But, engagement goes beyond posting. You also need to actively interact with followers through comments, messages, and mentions, and create opportunities for customers to engage with your brand. More on this later!

But wait… there’s one more thing. 

After defining your brand, understanding your audience, and developing an impactful brand message, it’s important to make sure that your brand message actually resonates with your audience. Share your brand message with a few trusted friends or customers, and ask for their honest opinions. Does the message clearly convey your brand's values and unique selling points? Is it compelling, and does it accurately represent your brand? Their feedback is invaluable. It can show you whether your message hits the mark or if there are areas that need adjusting.

Based on the feedback, you may need to refine your message to make sure that it is as effective and impactful as possible. This might involve tweaking the language to make it more engaging, ensuring the values are clearly communicated, or emphasising the unique aspects of your USP more strongly. 

Remember, your brand message is not just a statement; it’s a promise to your customers and a reflection of your brand’s commitment to delivering on that promise. So, take the time to develop a message that really embodies what your business stands for and the unique value you bring to the market.


Defining your brand and audience is the first and most important step in building a strong social media presence. By clearly understanding your core values, writing a compelling brand message, and identifying your ideal customers, you lay the foundation for success in your social media activities. Remember, consistency and authenticity are key. Your audience will connect with your brand when they see a genuine reflection of your values and a clear understanding of their needs. 

Stay tuned for next week's article, where I will discuss how to choose the right social media platforms for your business. 

Get Started with the Workbook

Ready to put these insights into action? Download the workbook I designed to help you work through each of the steps in this series in detail. This step-by-step guide will provide you with practical exercises and examples to ensure you're on the right track.

Click the link below to get started!


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