Hey y'all! Kaitlyn here! I have another guest post coming to you this week from the smart and social media savvy Stephanie Gilbert of Small Talk Social. Stephanie is an amazing resource when it comes to all things social media, and especially all things Instagram. I've been reading her blog (+ loving her free course) and improving my Instagram game lately, too! I hope you find this post useful + be sure to check out more ways to connect with Stephanie at the bottom of the post!
So I know we hear a lot about branding when it comes to our blogs and businesses, but what about on social media?
As a business, it’s so important for your brand to look, sound, and feel like your brand, everywhere it lives. Your brand doesn’t just end when folks exit your website or blog, it isn’t just your brand inside of your four-wall brick and mortar. Your brand is carried over into every tweet, every Facebook update, and everything you pin on Pinterest.
So how do you ensure you are communicating a clear brand message on every social media channel? How can you create the same brand experience with a status update or an Instagram?
KEEP IT CONSISTENT
Of course, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that your username is the same across every platform (if possible) and that you use the same profile photo. Although each platform allows a different character limit, you should also try to craft a similar bio across all channels. This creates consistency and allows people to easily recognize your brand.
Due to varying size specifications, each platform will require that you create a new banner image for every account. Though they will range slightly in size, you will want them to remain very similar visually. I actually wrote a post on a time-saving way to keep your social media images cohesive and created a helpful cheat sheet that you can download as well.
But, we get it, right? The logo, the tagline, the banners, they should all match. That’s pretty basic stuff.
However, that isn’t all there is to it. Branding on social media isn’t just about how your business looks, it’s also about what your business says and how it says it.
Let’s dive in a little deeper...
STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR MISSION
Let’s say you follow a food blog on Twitter that specializes in quick and easy vegan recipes for busy moms- a really nice and specific niche with a clear brand purpose. Most of the time they share recipes, fun facts about being vegan, and time saving tips for moms on the go. But what if one evening the account starts tweeting it’s choices for the best dressed at the Oscars… weird, right? And totally confusing.
Now, I’m not suggesting that this account never post anything except links to their recipes, that’s boring and blatantly self-promotional. What I am suggesting is that the blog keep their social media feed aligned with their mission and remember WHO they are serving at all times.
What could they have done? Perhaps a little research would have shown that one of the night’s nominees was actually a vegan AND a mom, (#score!!), so they could have spun the post in a way that stayed relevant to their followers. It’s completely possible to engage and join conversations in areas outside of your direct niche, as long as you can make it valuable to those that you set out to serve.
What you want to avoid is alienating those that opt in to engage with your brand by posting anything that is not properly aligned with it.
BE HUMAN, BUT NOT TOO HUMAN…
The same can be said for visual sharing on platforms like Instagram. Normally I would speak of the importance of branding your images by using the same brand colors and not straying from using 1-3 different photo filters. Building a visually cohesive feed is SUPER important.
But in this case, I wanted to focus more on the subject matter of the photo, and how seeming human on social media can sometimes get brands in trouble.
For example, if you have an Instagram account for your handmade jewelry business, it’s not recommended that you post random selfies from a night out drinking with your girlfriends, even if you ARE the business owner. What purpose is there for sharing a drunken night out for those that are interested in your business and its products? This is definitely not what they mean when they say you should humanize your brand on social media…
What you could do, however, is show a behind-the-scenes peek of a work function with some of your employees, champagne in hand, celebrating a profitable quarter. This gives your followers an inside look at how you like to have a good time on and off the clock. Do you see the difference here? While it’s great for your business to feel human on social media, it’s important to think about how each post will affect your followers as well and what it’s indirectly saying about your business. If you need other examples of what a business SHOULD post on Instagram, check out this post I wrote with ten examples of creative content that brands can share on their Instagram feeds.
So obviously there are a handful of things to think about when posting as a brand on social media in order to stay on brand. However, if you have a crystal clear vision about who your target audience is and how you will offer them value, what you actually communicate through text and images shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out.
Just remember that the purpose of using social media as a business is to engage with your audience and share valuable content and you should be good to go.
Oh, and if you’d like to learn even more about how to use Instagram for your business, take my free E-course, it’s packed with actionable tips to help you target and grow the RIGHT following and teaches you how to convert those followers into loyal customers.
Stephanie Gilbert is a freelance Social Media Coordinator who specializes in creating compelling visual content strategies for creative businesses, bloggers + entrepreneurs. She also runs a blog called Small Talk Social, in which she shares her favorite tips + best practices for creating visual content, as well as how to optimize your social media platforms to convert loyal followers into paying customers. Her #1 mission: To teach you how to create better content.