The Ultimate Guide to Brand Consistency across Social Media
When there were only a few social networks, it was rather easy to maintain a consistent brand identity. Today, businesses are active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and what not. Each one of these networks provides entrepreneurs access to a different set of current and potential customers. Thus, the strategies required to excel on each of these networks are very different. What can you do as an entrepreneur or business owner to maintain brand consistency across several social networks and why should you?
In my research, I have come across various articles with reasons-why-brand-consistency-across-social-media-is-important and tips-for-maintaining-brand-consistency-across-social-media lists. Let me tell you, there is much overlap in these lists. For this blog, I have gathered and organized all these tips in order to create the ultimate lists of reasons why brand consistency across social media is important and tips to achieve that.
I hope that you, as an entrepreneur, can use these two lists as a guide to brand consistency across social media or as a checklist to see whether you have done everything you can to achieve that brand consistency.
5 reasons why brand consistency across all social media is important
It strengthens brand name recall
The reality is that people do not make their buying decisions instantly. Instead, they take their time to research and evaluate all of their viable options because they reach a conclusion. This is one of the reasons brand recall is so powerful and should not be taken lightly. Your goal as a company should be to make brand recall easy for your consumers.
It does not portray conflicting personalities within your company
When branding your company, it goes even beyond your simple name. You should also be consistent with the kinds of ideas and principles that your company wishes to espouse. If you are a company like Disney or Pixar that appeals to the light-hearted, you should be light-hearted throughout all your social media platforms. This includes everything from your daily postings to your profile photos and cover images. You want to avoid the “split personality” problem that many brands face on their social media channels. People should be able to determine your brand’s personality regardless of the platform on which they find you.
It does not create confusion among your fans
Competition is fierce and consumers are more powerful than ever. If you cannot provide them with the value they seek, they will move onto someone else that can. In order to increase your chances of a consumer choosing your business over someone else’s, you need to eliminate any potential confusion. Confusion can arise when your company is not consistently managing and designing your social media pages. The reason you have a loyal fan base on social media in the first place is probably the quality of both your products and the way that you market your brand. The more frictionless you make a consumers purchase path, the greater your chances are of obtaining their business.
It shows professionalism
Brand consistency shows that you take your business seriously and that you have committed to a public image.
It separates you from competitors
In order to develop a successful branding strategy, your business needs to stand out. Allow your branding to emphasize what you have that your competition does not. Ingrain this into your consumer’s minds by delivering consistency throughout your images and messages.
9 tips on how to maintain a consistent brand identity across social networks
Xavier Davis, Todd Wasserman and Sherry Lamoreaux are great resources when it comes to tips for brand consistency across social media. I have reviewed their lists and compiled it into this big list. This way, you do not need to read all articles, just this one. We as entrepreneurs and business owners all know that time is a scarce resource!
Know your audience
The first tip to list is to recognize and understand who your audience is. Ideally, you have created buyer personas and so you know to whom you are selling and what they want. Social media provides a wealth of information about what the target demographic is interested in, so use that information to develop a content strategy. Know which social media they use, and consider the way they communicate. You may find that you have to tweak the strategy a bit because of new information. Pay attention to tone, frequency, style, and any other characteristics that could matter.
Create a familiar look
Before you even worry about posting, make sure your business looks the same on your different social networks. Extend your existing brand when setting up your social media presence; you want people to recognize you wherever and whenever they meet you.
Each social network has a different layout, but make sure items such as your profile image and bio are consistent. If possible, your social accounts should be consistent with your company website as well. That means that before you joined the social media world, you probably had a great logo and tagline in place. Do not reinvent that wheel simply because you are expanding your online presence. Maintain a uniform color scheme for consistency and brand awareness.
Choose a brand voice
There is not a right or wrong way to approach brand voice, other than it should be consistent. The voice you speak with becomes a huge brand identifier. It also determines the type of audience you attract and how people perceive you.
Make sure the voice you choose appeals to your target audience and that you use it consistently across all social media platforms. Also, make sure your voice is different from your competitors’ voice. Finally, your brand’s voice should also reflect your business as a whole. You need to find a mission, principles and a standard for what drives your brand.
Be consistent and post consistently
In visual advertising, a big sign for success is when your logo can be left off and people still know the ad is yours. For social media, it is instant recognition of your company’s posts. The takeaway: success points to the consistency of voice, tone, artistry, message. By focusing on consistency, your audience begins to know what to expect from you, which, in turn, helps you attract followers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
In addition, creating a consistent brand identity requires consistent posting habits. Nothing hurts a business more than creating social media accounts and then not posting to them. If a potential customer searches for your business on Facebook and sees that you have not posted in a month, they could easily assume you went out of business. That would be awful. Investing in a social media management tool will help you to plan posts ahead of time and make sure that your brand is posting consistently.
Time is such a crucial asset for small businesses. Repurposing content saves you time. Repurposing content is taking existing content and putting a spin on it. An example is turning a text-based blog post into an infographic. You can use all the same statistics, but visual content will resonate with a new audience. Another example is turning that “List of amazing facts about…” blog post into smaller, more in-depth posts.
Branding in social media is like running a political campaign, in that brands have to stay on message when they can, but then divert from that message when the news of the day dictates the narrative.
Show off your human side
Social media is about people and personalities. Skip the salesy messages and prove by humanizing your brand that you care about more than just making a profit. People establish relationships with people, not faceless companies. Read over your updates before you publish them and make sure they are appealing to actual humans.
Timely, personal response is equally as important. Showing that you care enough to answer a question or settle a customer service issue is a great way to show off your human side. Again, be consistent across all platforms. If you answer Facebook questions, be sure to respond to tweets on Twitter and comments on Instagram.
If you do not have the time and resources to engage fully in all the channels your prospects use, cut back. Determine the number of most important, must-have channels and focus on them. Again, a poorly managed channel presence is worse than no presence.
Strive for originality
Curating others’ content is a good idea; it shows that you are engaged in your industry and respect experts’ opinions. Nevertheless, make sure to add your original thoughts.
For images, although it is appropriate to occasionally use stock photos on blog posts, be original when you post on social media sites. Share genuine photos from your business.
As you strive to be original, also strive to be honest at all times. Your reputation is on the line every single day. The fastest way to lose followers is to lose their trust.
Do not aim for consistency. Instead, aim for cohesion
Finally, and this may sound weird at the end of this list, but aim for cohesion rather than consistency. Consistency results in matching luggage, which does not allow you to adapt to the medium.
The difference between consistency (bad) and cohesion (good) is that the latter means telling a story that hangs together in an appropriate way depending on where you are and to whom you are talking. In other words, cohesion is a bit looser than consistency. It involves rallying your messages around a brand principle.
What can I do for you regarding brand consistency across social media?
You have researched exactly who your prospects are and you want to start the conversation. You know how you can best reach them across a multitude of channels and when. For that purpose, you have written high-quality content. As you know, language is one of the main elements of communication. It is, therefore, likely you will need your content in more than one language. I can help you if you need professional translations. I am the owner of Dutch translation agency BudgetVertalingOnline, which offers affordable translations into English or Dutch. Would you like to get in touch? Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), send me a Tweet (@GdenHolder) or fill out the quotation form.
It would be really nice if you shared my blog on your social media! Please use the buttons below.