Social Media Branding

13 Jul 2016
Alan Martin

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Want to know how to keep your branding consistent across all your social media channels?

Not sure where you can use branding on your social media accounts?

In this article I’ll explain the importance of branding in social media, where the branding opportunities are and how to remain consistent, so that you have a recognisable style across all your social media accounts.

What is social media branding?

So what is social media branding all about then? Well, before I answer that question, I just want to explain that I am not a graphic designer, so what follows is my opinion from a marketing management stand-point. I’m not going to get into fonts and typography. If you want to learn more about that, check out “Typography 101: Everything a Beginner should know“. Nor am I going to get into colour palates and imagery. If that is an area of interest, you should definitely check out “How to Develop a Strong Visual Brand on Social Media“.

These are all important aspects of branding, but graphic design is definitely not in my wheelhouse, so if this is an element you need to work on in your business I recommend that you have a conversation with a good graphic designer, who will be able to explain how all these elements combine to form your brand.

So from my perspective social media branding is about having a consistent look and feel for your business across the whole web. Does your Facebook page look anything like your website? Visitors to your social media accounts should instantly be able to recognise that it belongs to your company, so if you are using different imagery, branding etc this can cause a disconnect and can negatively affect the perception of your company. Digital marketers call this ‘Congruency‘, where visitors to your site expect to see one thing, but then see something different.

In short, you need to make sure that all your social media channels look like they belong to the same business. Visual content is becoming increasingly important on social media and you only have a fraction of a second to make a good first impression when people visit your sites, so it is vitally important that you make the most of the branding opportunities that are available to you.

4 places to brand yourself on social media..

1. Page Name – Where possible try to name all your social media accounts the same way (usually your business name). This might not always be possible, if the name has already been taken by someone else.

2. Cover Image – Most social media platforms allow you to create an image at the very top of your account. This takes up a lot of space and is the first thing that visitors notice when they visit your page. Ninja Tip – use the same graphic element across all your social media profiles.

That’s not to say that these images should stay the same all the time! In fact it is good practice to change them up from time-to-time, perhaps there is something you are trying to promote? Just make sure that you change the images across all social media platforms to keep them consistent. Maureen Sharphouse, does a really good job of this! Check out her Facebook page and her Twitter account to see what I mean.

3. Profile Picture – Every social media platform allows you to add a small profile image. This could be your logo or a picture of you, depending on your type of business and the platform you are using. Unlike your Cover Image, I would highly recommend sticking to the same image, once you are happy with it.

One thing to remember on Facebook! Your Profile Pic might look okay at the top of the page, but how does it look when it appears much smaller, in the top left of every post you make? Can you still make out what it is? If you are using an image of yourself as your Profile Pic, it is well worth investing in some professionally done head-shots.

4. Post images – if you regularly share images of motivational quotes or anything else of that nature, you can use this opportunity to add your company branding to your images. This is a great technique for brand awareness because people love to share these types of posts. Here’s an example of this technique on Facebook from Henry’s Coffee Company.

You can also keep your images consistent by utilising templates, when you are creating your masterpieces. Canva for Business offers this feature. You can read more about this technique here. Canva for Business (that’s their paid plan) also lets you re-size artwork for the different platforms, without the need to re-create each image separately.

What’s the best way to keep consistent across all my social media channels?

Here’s my advice for social media branding! If you can afford it, it is well worth spending a little bit of money to work with a good graphic designer to create the more semi-permanent graphics like your Cover Images, web graphics etc.

This is a great way to make a splash and keep your branding consistent across all your digital channels. I worked with Col from Pixel’s Ink Graphic Design in Dundee to create all my ninja graphics and would highly recommend him, but I know that there are many other talented graphic designers out there that do a good job, so just go and see someone and talk through your branding challenges with them.

So, that’s my advice in relation to the semi-permanent graphics, or certainly graphics that you are not going to be changing every other week. However, you will also want to produce quick images, as described above, to use in your social media posts. A good graphic designer would be able to help you keep brand consistency here too, but there is a trade-off between the cost involved in having a graphic designer do this work for you and the permanence of the post.

In this situation I tend to use tools such as Canva (I love Canva by the way, just sayin!!) and PicMonkey to quickly create good-looking images that I can use in my social media updates. I’m also a huge fan of Pablo and more recently I’ve been experimenting with Stencil too, so they are well worth checking out as well.

If you are creating images yourself, it is a good idea to be familiar with the correct image dimensions for each platofrm. Canva can take care of most channel art for you, but they don’t cover every eventuality, so this handy infographic from Search Engine Journal is an extremely useful resource to bookmark.

Conclusion

Although social media is still considered a new way to communicate, don’t forget the lessons of over 50 years of marketing wisdom. Branding is just as important on social media is it is on your leaflet or on any other bit of marketing collateral, so ignore it at your peril.

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