- 1 5 actionable strategies for social media branding strategies
While social media has been around for about 40 years, it wasn’t until Facebook launched a little over a decade ago that companies began paying attention to social media. It used to be that branding would be focused on print media, broadcast ads and newsletters (email and flyers). The digital addition of social media meant that companies had another outlet to brand for themselves.
Brand consistency across all networks is a challenge for every company. How do you make sure that you’re writing in a similar tone to your email customers as you are to your tv audience? How do you differentiate between the two audiences, if at all? How do you ensure that customers can recognize your brand even if it’s their first time seeing you on social media?
A brand is more than a logo or set of colors. We’ve written this guide to help you strategize how to ensure a consistent brand across multiple social media networks.
1. Cover your basics
We won’t go into the minute details of a basic branding makeover but what you do want to make sure you have is a consistent logo, banner colors, bio and handle. Some companies like to switch up logos between networks depending on how small the allotted photo space is. Whichever you choose, you want to ensure your profiles are similar enough that people will recognize them as from the same company.
In addition to checking on your profiles, take a moment to review your posting strategy. As mentioned before, consistency is important and this means sticking to a consistent posting schedule.
In the above example, Burt’s Bees uses the same logo for both Facebook and Twitter. Their banners are also the same. It isn’t necessary for the two banners to be the same but it’s important to note that the colors in the banners reflect those in the logo.
- Perform a social media audit across all of your accounts
- Change logos, banners, bios and handles to be consistent with each other
- Make sure you’re posting consistently and on a schedule
2. Extend your visual branding
So now that you have a consistent visual brand across network accounts, it’s time to enhance that even further. What does that mean? It means seeing if you have the same colors and fonts reflected in your images, graphics and videos. When someone visits your Instagram page, is the filter or pop of color immediately apparent to them? When a video is published, are the overlay text fonts similar to those that you use for your blog post’s feature image?
Over time, your customers will see the consistency in posts and begin to recognize when a post is from you without seeing your brand’s logo or social media handle. This type of brand recognition is the ultimate goal for your social media branding efforts.
Anthropologie is known for their pastel and earthy colors. The general brand feeling is light and airy, which carries into their clothing. And though they may deviate from that depending on the season, the consistency carries into their Instagram Stories. A single story has a clear beginning and end in terms of color and design. The story set that follows the above example uses a different font and design but still reflects a similar brand aesthetic.
- Write out your visual brand guide to include fonts, their uses and colors
- Create graphic templates for the same type of announcement (e.g. new product announcement has a similar font, color and design)
- Create photos and videos that keep your brand’s aesthetic and color choices. The posts should flow seamlessly into each other.
3. Establish a voice & tone guide
After visuals, captions and related copy are the next important piece of social media posts. Company social media accounts tend to have some personality. For some, it’s sarcastic and for others, it’s informative. You might already have a brand voice established for your other marketing focuses. Extending that to social media is highly recommended.
A voice and tone guide should include details like company catchphrases, personality traits and how to write about people. The smallest details like if you use the term “clients” over “customers” will help you keep your writing consistent. If you have multiple people managing your accounts, the guide keeps you in check so it doesn’t seem like your company is writing from multiple perspectives.
Mailchimp’s style guide covers several areas including social media and newsletters. It’s easy to navigate and is direct in its approach and examples. While your own guide is likely internal facing, having it accessible to everyone in the company allows for people to refer to it when writing marketing copy. Everyone is on the same page and that cuts down on repetitive work.
- Write your voice and tone guide down
- Audit your own social media posts to see where you can improve in voice and tone
- Write new posts with the new voice and tone guide
4. Create multiple accounts for different areas of focus
If your company is large enough or has a diverse set of products and/or services, it’s sometimes best to have multiple accounts. The advantages of having these different accounts include being able to hyper focus your branding, cater to a specific audience and serve up relevant content.
Some different ways you can approach this include:
- An account per location, most popular on Facebook because it offers a location feature for Pages (Carmax has locations set up on Facebook)
- Customer service Twitter accounts for those that receive a high number of inquiries
- Accounts by audience such as Nike for every sport they work with
- A mascot account like some popular sports teams have
- Department-specific accounts for higher education
GEICO maintains several accounts that address different areas of the company’s endeavors. With their main account, they highlight corporate responsibility and general announcements. With the Gecko account, the voice is from the mascot and photos always include it. The GEICO Racing account is solely focused on their sponsored NASCAR team and race updates.
- Take a look at your offerings and see where it would be best to divide up focus
- For each account, repeat your branding steps to ensure consistency across them all. For example, one location may want to be a little more sarcastic than another to fit its customer profile.
- Use a service like Sprout to maintain multiple accounts under one ownership
5. Develop your marketing personas
Your marketing personas are going to vary between the networks. Audiences on TikTok are younger than audiences on Facebook. This is the reality and if you use the same content across both networks, it’s possible that it won’t resonate the same way. To this end, it’s best to create multiple personas for your own marketing efforts.
Start with the company’s customer base and then map them to the different social media networks you use. For example, your Twitter account could target millennial parents while your Instagram account targets small business owners. Having these established personas per network helps you narrow down your content ideas and maybe even adjust your voice.
Chipotle uses memes on their Instagram account to connect to that specific type of customer. They’re tongue-in-cheek memes that usually bring a laugh to those familiar with them. With each meme posted, you come to expect another meme, which establishes a certain brand awareness of Chipotle on Instagram.
- Create multiple marketing personas and assign the social media networks that match
- Examine your networks’ different demographics if you need to get to know your audience
- Create content to match the personas
Increasing your brand awareness across social media is a common goal. Actually executing the strategies to reach that goal is the more difficult part. These recommended strategies, business examples and related action steps should get you started in the right direction to establishing your brand on social media.
Branding is no longer limited at logos and colors. It’s about your voice, your imagery and even your targeted audience. Because it’s more qualitative, it can make measuring its success a little tricky. But as you start on improving your branding on social media, you should pay close attention to engagement, mentions and share of voice.
A group report from Sprout Social will give you overall trends across all of your networks. Since the reports are customizable by date ranges, you’ll be able to see how your brand is performing since you began your branding efforts.
It takes time to build brand recognition on social media. The most recognizable brands today like Coca-Cola and Nike are recognizable because they have time and consistency on their side. While you certainly don’t need decades for social media branding, some patience is required. Utilizing the strategies above will set you on the path for improving your brand online.
This post 5 actionable strategies for social media branding strategies originally appeared on Sprout Social.
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