Brand power is as important today as it has ever been. Having a brand that stands out from the crowd and generates a positive response from consumers can make or break some businesses. In the noisy world of social media people see hundreds, even thousands, of brands each day whilst browsing the net or scrolling social media.
Whether you’ve already got your branding on point or it needs some work, this post will help you ensure that your brand is conveyed powerfully across the social channels. Keep reading.
How to get your brand to stand out on social media
1. Revisit the core branding of your business
One thing that will make building a strong brand over social media very challenging is if the original brand name, logo, strapline and colours simply aren’t working for you. There’s a reason that branding and rebranding is such big business and it’s because the requirements of brands change with the times, the business and its target audience’s tastes.
When was the last time the entire brand was looked at critically? Do the arguments for the brand’s design or style stand up to reason today?
It can be a difficult pill to swallow if, in your heart of hearts, you know that something needs to change.
A strong brand needs to be instantly recognisable. Whether it’s the colour, name or logo, someone needs to be able to assign that information to your brand in a matter of seconds. Get some impartial, honest feedback on your brand and compare your brand to your competitors’ or those of brands to which you aspire so you can assess how you shape up.
This said, if you’re happy that the basics are in place…
2. Use your logo for every main profile image
That’s across every social channel. You can be clever with how you display your logo and it doesn’t have to be on a white background, but it must be obvious to a passing user that this is an official company social media account.
Whilst using product images or different versions of your logo for your main profile image might seem like a good idea, it reduces the number of impressions each user gets of your official brand logo and some people might not even realise it’s the same company.
Important! Even if you don’t use a particular social media account; brand it properly. Dormant accounts are fine because it makes sense to secure a handle for your brand, even if you’re not using it right now, just make sure it looks the part.
3. Create a brand voice and tone
Words still play a huge role in social media content. Even the strongest visual branding can be undermined by poorly worded or off-brand copy.
Consistency in voice and tone can be a significant problem if more than one person writes the copy for the social channels. Everyone has their own way of putting things and they tend to use certain adjectives, sentence structures and humour techniques, to name but a few.
Strong brands need to have a consistent brand voice that is familiar to their audience and runs through every piece of content shared. This also helps massively when deciding how to respond to content or respond to individuals online.
4. Develop brand guidelines
Whilst this might seem like something only blue-chip businesses or household name brands need to consider, developing some basic brand guidelines won’t take long and it will pay huge dividends.
What are the HEX codes of your brand’s primary colours? How should your logo look on a dark background and a light background? Which typeface is used in your logo, website and any official documentation? Do you have access to the original high-res version of your logo? Make sure all of this information is available to anyone creating content for the brand.
It’s also a good idea to adopt a colour palette for your brand. Besides the one or two primary colours, which colours go well with them and which should be avoided? This can help guide the choice of photographs and other images you choose to share on social media too.
5. Ensure all of your social skins are consistent and optimised
It is paramount that you have the key images on your social profiles perfect. It is amazing how many brands we see that have low-quality header/banner images despite having a great logo and content. If you have managed to catch the eye of a potential customer on social media and they’ve checked out your profile, you have a matter of seconds to persuade them to stay, check out your content, and follow your page.
Since the size requirements of these images change relatively infrequently, spending some time getting them right is very much worth it. It is less important for each of these banners to be identical as it is for the main profile image because it won’t be shown next to every piece of content you share.
It’s also important to note that how you portray your brand on each social network may differ depending on the audience you have there. LinkedIn is a very good example of where a company may have a drastically different banner to its Facebook page.
Use a tool like Promo to make any given image the right dimensions for each platform (remember that some of the banners are obscured by the profile images). Having graphics designed specifically is the best way to optimise banner images and it’s something we provide regularly as a service (not to plug ourselves, just to say that you wouldn’t be the first person to invest in it!).
6. Keep visual content consistent
The nature of visuals and the extent to which your online presence is spearheaded by your visual content very much depends on the nature of your business. E-commerce businesses, for example, will be product shot heavy and have many photographs in their content. An IT data services provider is more likely to share infographics whilst a designer might share graphics and short animations.
Regardless, visual content is key for virtually every business using social media and you’ll likely need a steady stream of high-quality content to use. However, unless you have a full-time graphic designer or photographer to hand, it’s likely that you’ll be using a variety of sources for imagery.
You might be using stock imagery (which is a fine strategy), Canva to spruce up images, or taking or making your own collateral from scratch, but it’s important that the branding and the quality of those visuals is consistent.
7. Make it clear what you stand for
Just being a ‘cosmetics’ or ‘sportswear’ brand or a ‘web agency’ isn’t enough to build a brand on, no matter how good your branding is. Consumers are increasingly conscious of the nature of the companies from whom they buy, not just from an ethical standpoint, but from a personality and values perspective.
Having a faceless, corporate brand might work for some businesses, but those seeking to use social media to generate traction need to have more to them. When a customer makes a purchase from your online store or even just likes your Facebook page, what are they endorsing? What does that decision say about them?
Think of some of the brands you choose to buy from. What do they stand for? Why do you buy from them?
8. Align yourself with similar brands
An effective way to strengthen your brand is to align yourself with like-minded companies that you’d like your audience to know you’re similar to. You can do this by following these accounts on Twitter and Instagram and liking their pages on Facebook. Occasionally sharing or engaging with their content demonstrates that affinity to your audience.
Showing that you share an ethos with a brand that has crafted its audience and brand value over the course of decades gives you the opportunity to relatively easily add depth to your own brand that would otherwise take much longer to achieve.
Note that this excludes competitors, whom you may use for some brand inspiration, but should generally avoid copying or engaging with on social media.
9. Master Instagram and the rest will follow
If your brand is on Instagram (which, if you’ve read to here, it probably is), focus on getting your Instagram feed to absolutely epitomise your brand. Instagram is by far the most visual of the major social networks and your success there is all about visual quality, consistency and a strong brand identity.
Once you have your Insta game on point, your visual prowess is likely to flow into your other core channels.
Branding runs deeps within your company and its social presence. It’s far more than a logo and a colour scheme – it dictates how you sound, how you’re perceived and how likely you are to convert a digital passer-by into a fan or customer.
The above nine tips will help your brand flourish on social media and facilitate a deeper understanding amongst your audience.