A brand is the way a company is perceived by those who experience it, and the way it makes its customers feel. A brand is built by taking a consistent approach across all customer touchpoints – your social media strategy, for example – with that brand, both online and offline.
Ensuring brand consistency across all the touch points of the customer journey is a challenge for any company and social networks bring a whole new dynamic and challenge to brand consistency. Having a consistent brand image and story across all your social media platforms is the most important factor to building a successful social media presence.
We have put together a quick and easy guide to get you started on building your brand across your social media channels. Take a look:
Step 1: Social Media Strategy
Developing your social media strategy is the key to ensuring that all elements of your social media are on brand. Your social media strategy should identify which platforms are right for your brand and establish the role each platform will play in the brand strategy. This will help you to develop content plans, across all platforms, that build the brand persona and story in a consistent approach.
Step 2: Social Media Guidelines
Social media brand guidelines are important to have in place to clearly outline which fonts and logos are to be used, as well as brand colour palettes and templates. All brand assets required for social media should be documented with very clear instructions on how they are to be implemented.
Step 3: Social Media Brand Audit
A social media audit across all your accounts to identify gaps and inconsistencies is key. In the audit you will need to take note of logos, handles, bios, fonts, colours, imagery, copy and posting consistency.
Step 4: Building the Branding Foundation
Following the audit, you will need to start with building the branding foundations across your social media channels. While each channel will serve a different purpose in your digital media strategy, it is imperative to ensure that the logos, bios and handles across all your channels are following the brand guidelines.
Step 5: Visual Branding
The ultimate goal with visual branding on social media is that over time your customers will start to recognise your posts and content without seeing your brand logo or any other brand cues. The way to achieve this is through consistency in the fonts, typography, colours and imagery. Creating templates for certain types of posts, for example a product announcement, is an easy and effective way to ensure brand consistency. Always keep your brand aesthetic and color palettes in mind when creating photo or video content.
GoPro is a great example. They successfully manage multiple platforms, using each network for a different purpose whilst still building a strong brand image and story through consistency in their tone, visual imagery and logo usage.
Step 6: Brand Voice
Most brands, especially the successful ones such as Nike & Starbucks, have a very clear brand personality on social media. This personality is often an extension of their brand voice that has been established for other marketing initiatives. While you will need to cultivate a specific approach for each social platform (LinkedIn is more professional while Instagram tends to be more casual and relaxed) the overall brand voice or tone of voice needs to evoke the same personality traits through all the platforms. Including a list of catch phrases and preferred vocabulary is a great way to ensure the same tone is applied throughout the copy and captions.
Building a clear and consistent brand image across all your social media platforms will help customers to connect with your brand and in turn improve engagement, mentions and share of voice.