Key Steps for Maintaining Brand Consistency across Social Media
Social media marketing seems easy, doesn’t it? You create profiles for free and you start promoting your small business to the right audience. At least it seems that way before you start the campaign. As soon as you become part of the craze, you realize that social media marketing might be one of the most overwhelming challenges you’ve faced so far.
It’s confusing and time-consuming, but it’s necessary. Over 50% of small business owners plan to increase the investment in YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter during 2017. It’s easy to understand: no matter what industry your business belongs to, social media marketing is practically mandatory. Your audience is there, and your competitors are definitely there too.
There’s one particular aspect of social media marketing that small business owners often neglect: brand consistency.
Check out the Instagram profile of Coca Cola, for example. What do you see? Coca Cola’s vibe. You recognize it. You see the logo all over the place. In the descriptions, you see the recognizable approach the brand has. Now, check out the official Facebook profile of the same brand. What do you notice? The marketing campaign is consistent. This is a huge brand, so it does something more: it directs its Facebook users to a relevant profile, so they can connect with Coca Cola representatives in their own country.
Why Is Brand Consistency Important?
Do you have to own a huge corporation to be worried about consistency? No; this approach is just as important for small businesses as it is for huge brands.
These are only few reasons why you should maintain brand consistency across social media:
- This approach will give unique personality to your business. The customers will start identifying themselves as followers of a brand they relate to.
- When you identify your brand and keep that image consistent, you’ll make it distinct among all other small businesses you compete with.
- You create something memorable. The potential buyer will have that image in their mind when they want to find a product or service related to your industry.
- Customers stay loyal to consistent brands. They know what to expect.
What Does It Mean to Be Consistent?
What’s the first thought that comes to your mind when someone mentions brand consistency? You probably think of the logo on all marketing materials, as well as the proper pantone color all over the place. Yes, that’s part of consistent branding. However, brand consistency is much more than colors and logos. It’s about getting your foundational marketing messages aligned across all social media platforms.
There are few main elements you need to maintain compatible on all social media:
- The look of the profiles
- The feel
- The tone of discussion
- The terminology
The audience on Instagram is different from the audience on Facebook. Every marketing expert will recommend you to have a different approach towards those audiences. Instagram people, for example, love contests and challenges. People on Facebook are more likely to respond to a call for discussion. Twitter, on the other hand, is about brief messages that hit the point. LinkedIn is professional, so you can’t use hashtags and Twitter language, right?
Although you’ll be maintaining different campaigns on all these networks, these elements should be consistent: the look, feel, tone, and terminology.
Let’s check Reebok as an example. Check out its profiles on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Do you notice how the brand adjusted its marketing campaign to fit the needs of the audiences of these platforms? On Instagram, it’s all about the visual aspect. Pinterest is visual too, but it’s more organized. On the Twitter profile, you mostly see images and videos with brief tweets. Facebook redirects you to the regional page, so you’ll see extremely targeted messages.
Despite the differences between the marketing campaigns on these social media, you see unrelenting brand consistency. You recognize the same style in the images, and the same tone in the messages. You get the point, right?
The Steps to Reaching and Maintaining Brand Consistency across Social Media
Now you know how important brand consistency is. You also know what exactly it means to be consistent in your marketing message. The only question is: how do you do it?
We’ll give you the most important, practical, and relevant tips to follow.
1. Reserve Your Brand Name on Social Media
This is harder than it seems. You think you have a unique brand name, but maybe it’s already taken. What if there’s a Twitter profile under that very name?
Even if you don’t want to start using a particular network at this very moment, create the profile just in case. Apple is not active on Twitter. The company shows no intention to start using this network. Still, it protected its brand name by creating an official profile on the platform.
So that’s step one: create profiles and reserve your brand name. If that’s not possible, add something to it. Nikon, for example, uses @NikonUSA on Twitter. You can do something similar – add the location next to your brand’s name.
It’s important to use the same username for all social media profiles of your brand. Yo don’t want to confuse the followers.
2. Keep the Images and Videos Uniform
It’s not recommended to spam all over social media with the same images and videos. The audiences are different on these platforms, so they want a unique approach. You probably noticed that with Reebok and Coca Cola when we mentioned them as examples above. The photos these brands post on Instagram and Facebook are different. Still, the visual impression is uniform.
Jacob Bennet, inbound marketing manager for EduGeeksClub, gives all small business owners an important tip: “Set your vibe. Is your brand fun and vibrant like Reebok, or clean, crisp and simple like Apple? Is it about healthy living? Hard work? Whatever the foundational element is, find it and build all visual content around it.”
Check out Coldplay as another example. With this band (and brand!) we see the same profile and cover photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. That strategy works, too. Feel free to keep these aspects uniform. However, you’ll notice the same content posted on Instagram and Twitter. The images and descriptions are the same, so you assume it’s an automated campaign. It doesn’t look like they try too hard, does it? The Facebook campaign, however, is different and targeted. Still, the feel of the visual content is uniform.
3. Use the Logo as the Profile Photo
You’ll notice that most brands stick to this trend: they set the logo as their profile picture. That’s a great strategy, since all content you post will be accompanied with the main branding feature you have: the logo.
Check out MAC Cosmetics as an example. Now, this is a brand that’s very focused on its visual campaign. It has tons of images to choose from for its profile pictures. Still, it goes with the smooth, simplistic logo. Why? Because that’s the right way to maintain brand consistency.
4. Keep Similar Tone and Language
This is very important, since you’re addressing the same customer persona after all. If your brand is youthful and full of spirit, you can feel free to use casual tone. You can be fun, inspiring, or even sarcastic. Be whatever you decide to be; just keep that tone consistent across the platforms.
5. Be Active on All Platforms
The key to consistency is frequency. That should become your mantra. When you want to make your brand memorable, you have to put it out there. Try to post daily! If that’s not possible, then the least you could do is post on a weekly basis on each platform.
If you’re running out of ideas on what to post, here are a few you can consider:
- Links to your website’s blog posts. If you have some evergreen content there, you can share the links periodically, as long as you don’t spam the audience every single day with them.
- Calls to action. “Order a pizza today and you’ll get a second one for free!” That’s a nice way to animate the audience, isn’t it?
- Contests. You can run these on all social media sites. Make your followers compete for free products or services. Tell them to share the message. In fact, make sharing one of the requirements for participation. The contest will last a few days, so you can keep reminding the followers about it.
- Videos. Everyone loves them!
- Photos. They are the foundation of every social media marketing campaign. Whatever message you have to share, it will grab more attention along a cool photo. You can organize a photoshoot and post one image each day. You’ll have enough visual content to share for quite some time.
- Infographics. If you want to compress a lot of information into an easy-to-process format, an infographic is the right choice. For example, you can show statistics related to your business and industry.
You see? There are tons of things to share! Craft a marketing plan that includes all types of posts and keep your activity consistent on all platforms.
6. Promote the Same Hashtag
A recognizable hashtag is a nice way to make people connect with your brand. You’ll have to think of something really catchy, related to your industry, and unique. You can’t hijack someone else’s hashtag. If you keep this catchphrase uniform across all social media, it will be a huge step towards brand consistency.
Check out OmStars, a website that was recently launched. Its hashtag is #livetheyogilife, and you’ll see it on all platforms. The brand became recognizable because its founders were already huge on Instagram, but the consistent branding campaign has a huge part in its popularity.
7. Keep the Message Consistent
If you run a small business, running the same campaign on different platforms won’t be an overkill. You can do that at the beginning – post the same photos, news, and links to blog posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If they are pinnable, you can share the same photos via Pinterest, too.
As your business grows and you start hiring people to manage your social media marketing campaign, you’ll twist things up and do it like MAC Cosmetics does: you’ll run different campaigns specifically tailored for the audience on different social media platforms. When you do this, however, you’ll have to keep the message consistent.
MAC’s motto is: all ages, all races, all sexes. You’ll see different campaigns, but the messages will never be conflicting. They are always in line with the brand’s motto.
All social media platforms offer great opportunities for branding. The campaign won’t be easy. However, connecting with your audience on different levels is always a fun thing to do, right? Are you maintaining branding consistency across social media? Share your thoughts and impressions with us!
Rachel Bartee is a content writer and a marketing consultant. She is content-oriented and knows how to put words into action. She feels passionate about travelling and inspired by her morning yoga. Reach out to her on Twitter.