When thinking of your favorite brands, there were probably a lot of factors that drove you to continue your relationship with them. You could’ve first found the brand while walking through the mall, seeing an ad online or even a recommendation from a friend. But after that first interaction, what made you continue to come back and even recommend that brand to others? The answer? The positive interaction you had with that brand.
While face-to-face interaction is still very important for brands, social media interaction between brands and consumers is quickly growing in importance. Your online brand presence and personality says a lot about who you are and what you stand for. Nowadays, people are doing most of their interacting with brands online rather than in person. To this point, after surveying consumers, it was found that after a positive social media interaction with a brand, consumers are 78% more likely to buy from a brand.
When it comes to a brand’s presence on social media, you want every interaction a user has to be fluid and consistent. Social media branding guidelines compile all the elements of your brand into one cohesive tool that employees can look to when representing the brand online.
Here are three reasons why social media branding guidelines are important:
Brand consistency across all platforms is crucial to make sure your brand is recognizable and reliable. This includes things like your website, social media pages, advertisements (print and digital) and more. This consistency allows you to create a clear brand identity to consumers.
Adhering to your brand guidelines will help your brand to become more easily recognized within your target audience. This will also help you stand out among your competitors.
Social media branding guidelines should lay out standards and rules for all employees to adhere to everytime they respond as the brand on social media. Including it in the branding guidelines will give them a quick and easy way to reference all the information they need. Keeping it all in one place will also streamline updating any information throughout the years.
Things to include in these standards and rules would be things like, colors, photos, logos, themes, voice and tone. Supplying all of this information on the branding guidelines will ensure a cohesive presence throughout all of your social media channels.
When creating social media brand guidelines you should include as much detail as you deem necessary. Remember, every social media platform has different rules and audiences. Outlining the various best practices and guidelines for each social media platform will ensure that appropriate content is published on each platform.
Here are some suggestions to include in your social media brand guidelines:
This might seem like a no brainer, but it is important to list every single social media profile that your brand has. Continue to update this list as you begin to join other platforms as well. While platforms can have different naming conventions, make sure to include standards for how you would like new usernames to be addressed, remember to stick with consistency.
Clearly defining your brand voice is the most important aspect to include in your brand guidelines. An easy way to come up with your brand voice is to think about if your brand were a person, what would they be like? Once you come up with your descriptors, make sure to fine-tune and be as specific as possible.
Clearly defining certain terminology, abbreviations, emojis and more, that your company specifically uses, help to continue to bring consistency throughout your content. Again, it’s important to remember differences between various social platforms. Some businesses like to use emojis and be funny on Facebook or Twitter, but they want to be more professional on LinkedIn.
When it comes to status updates, sharing links and other types of posts, you want to make sure there is fluidity here as well. Laying out those formats and having examples included in your brand guidelines will ensure that formating is followed correctly across all platforms.
Hashtags can help increase your post performance when used correctly. Each social media platform has a best practice hashtag use that should be followed to help improve post engagement. Basic brand hashtags (company name) should be used on a regular basis to help build familiarity with your audience. Many companies also add their brand hashtags to their social media profile bios, to establish familiarity and also user-generated content.
Visually cohesive brand social media pages are also important, these guidelines help establish brand consistency and familiarity within your target audience. When thinking of what to include in this section, consider each of these: profile images, cover photos, header graphics, other photos/GIFs/graphics and videos.
When visitors come to your social media pages, they should be able to recognize your brand immediately. Establishing a brand theme goes a long way toward making those key connections. Be sure to include logos, color codes and fonts for graphics. Adding the Eye Dropper extension to your Chrome browser is an easy way to select a color from your website or online and perfectly match it to your social media posts. Once the color you want is selected just copy and paste the HEX color (Ex: #ebc444) into your style guide.
How you interact with a competitor online can depend on the industry you are in and the brand voice you want to portray. Make it clear in your brand guidelines how you want your brand to respond. You may choose to just simply ignore it, professionally respond or make it light-hearted and friendly.
Wendy’s is one of the most well-known brands on Twitter, with a reputation for being witty and humorous with their responses. This strategy works great for them as a fast food chain, not only to distinguish the brand, but also gain brand exposure through viral content. But their tone isn’t for everyone. There isn’t a right or wrong answer here, just make sure to be clear in your guidelines on how you want to respond.
Similar to including how to respond to competitors, you need to make it clear how the brand should respond to customers. Consistency is really key here, you want to make sure whoever is responding for your brand gives consistent and correct responses to users. The last thing you want is to upset a customer by giving conflicting answers to similar questions.
Make it easy on everyone and include responses to frequently asked questions. You can continue to update this on your brand guidelines and newer questions may arise. To avoid sounding like automated responses, include brand identity and personalize it by adding in the customer’s name.
And here’s a quick cheat sheet. Once you create your guidelines and launch your social media channels, do the following for some easy, quick wins to build your audience.
Kuno Creative has worked with dozens of companies to plan and execute digital marketing strategies that deliver results — social media included. If you could use a partner to support or accelerate your marketing efforts, we want to hear how we can help. To get the conversation started, request a free consultation.