Creating social media brand continuity is crucial for serious businesses of all sizes.
With Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, Digg, Google+ and so many other social networks at your fingertips it can get quite overwhelming to communicate with all of your followers at once.
And as if keeping everyone engaged wasn’t challenging enough, it is also crucial that you create brand social media brand continuity across all channels. In other words, while you should adapt to the different platforms and their various audience types, you will also have to stay true to your core message that unites your target audience and entice them to keep returning to your brand.
How can you do that? Let’s take a look at six ways to create social media brand continuity.
1- Editorial Voice
Your editorial voice can evolve over time, but it should be clearly defined early on. Should your posts sound playful, serious, educational, professional, or even sarcastic? Decide for yourself which tone fits your brand best and stick to it. Over time, your audience will get used to a certain way you “talk” to them and they will come to expect it.
Your voice will also need to shirt slightly due to the constraints of the different media platforms. So be aware of any restrictions and what audiences usually use each platform. See more on #6, below.
2- Images, Design and Colors
After defining an editorial voice that reflects your brand’s core values and social media brand continuity, do the same for all the images, design elements, and colors you want to use. If you have found the perfect Facebook cover image, for example, use that same image and reformat it to fit the featured image areas on other social media platforms. Consistency is key.
Additionally, as every graphic designer will tell you, it helps to define an overall color scheme that you stay within for all your images and graphic components (e.g. buttons and frames) in order to establish social media brand continuity. Ask yourself, “Is my brand better represented by warm colors like red, orange, and yellow or cool colors like blue, green, and violet?”
3- Customer Relationship
Some brands are very close to their customers and provide 24/7 customer service to be easily accessible; others prefer to keep a distance and establish more of an authoritative role as a result of which customers feel a sense of privilege when getting to “talk” to them.
Both works, but once you decide which role your brand will play in customer relations, you should stick to it so that your customer base learns what to expect. Social media platforms are a perfect way to establish this role by using a clear editorial voice and a certain frequency in posting content and replying to customer requests.
4- Re-post Other Content or Critique It
Before a small business owner can worry about social media brand continuity, they have to worry about getting enough content. When companies start out and still have to work with small staffs, it can be a daunting task to fill the walls of all your social media accounts with fresh content on a consistent basis.
Instead of letting the quality suffer by producing more content with less substance, consider re-posting content from other sites and companies that could be valuable to your audience. This not only portrays confidence that you trust your audience enough to return to your brand after sending them somewhere else (of course try to avoid direct competitors), but it also shows that you know your domain and what you are talking about.
Or course, you must ALWAYS give attribution to the original author. No use risking your whole social media brand continuity strategy for ripping someone off.
Another sub-approach to this method is to comment on (either pro or con) about the content of the article. It takes much less time to do so than develop content from scratch.
In a way, you are using other, compatible companies’ content to extend your brand continuity.
5- Stay Authentic
Once a company is growing and the customer base expanding, chances are that a larger amount of people and potential advertisers will pull you in all kinds of directions to fulfill their needs. It’s crucial – now more than ever – to stick to your guns and stay true to your core values, what you stand for as a brand.
While that big check from a potential advertiser seems pretty sweet, it could potentially alienate your customers if the product you endorse does not align with your brand promise.
6- Platform Focus
“The more the merrier” principle does not apply when it comes to selecting which social media platforms to focus on. In fact, it will hurt your brand (and search engine rankings) if you try to reach everyone everywhere and as a result start copy-pasting the exact same content.
That’s because each network’s audience has different interests and ways of communicating. So focus only on a handful of social media channels that your marketing team can become an expert in and represent your brand in a tailored way that is still consistent with your overall message.
In general, take your time to research which social network platform has the largest share of your target audience and aligns most seamlessly with your brand promise. It will be much easier to create and maintain social media brand continuity. Make that your primary focus, and add the others to support it.
We have a variety of standard and customized social media programs to help get you started.
Nick Rojas for Penrose Productions