Hey 🙂 it has been a long time. But before I get into my shenanigans, please check out (maybe the last guest post here) by Nick Rojas. I have ton to catch up and I’ll be creating way more videos than posts from now on wards. I can’t promise what’s coming but I’ll share whatever awesomeness comes down the road…Check out my first video tomorrow. For now, check this out.
Social Media has sort of a Catch-22 for businesses and their online presence. It has a built in infrastructure, which means it’s easy to setup and maintain, but that same infrastructure severely limits your ability to customize your business pages and maintain a consistent brand experience. There are some things you cannot currently alter, such as the layout, but there is a way to maintain brand continuity with these six tools at your disposal.
1. Colors – It’s hard to overstate the importance of selecting the right color scheme. On the corporate side, you tend to find similar colors among similar industries. Colors communicate to our brains on an unconscious level. Whether it’s the striking red dress at the bar, or the authority of policeman blue, color speaks whether we’re paying attention or not. You can ensure that your logos, profile images, cover photos and individual posts bear your preferred brand color scheme to remind people who is speaking without telling them.
2. Fonts – There was much ado made about Google’s recent logo change from the old familiar, serif-tipped letters to a new sans serif font of their own creation called Product Sans. From a layman’s perspective, they really aren’t that much different. The letters are slightly fuller and cleaner, but it’s still the same letters, still the same color pattern, but it would be disingenuous to say that though the physical change is slight, that it wasn’t a shock to see such a familiar face replaced by something that felt so different.
That’s the keyword — felt. It would be like if your loved one’s eyes were suddenly larger than every day before yesterday. All of your associations and memories are connected to a visual component that no longer exists, and you have to reconnect the new ones to the old. It can be off putting.
You won’t have total control over the text across social media. Most platforms don’t allow you to use anything but their standard font choice, often Arial, so whenever you do share content with words, that is your only opportunity to keep brand consistency with your letters, which in turn keeps those positive associations, those memories, along for the ride from your site to your social media pages.
3. Logos – Your logo, in the online world, is the face of your business. It carries a lot of your reputation, good or bad, on its shoulders. Think of the feelings you get from the McDonald’s arches, or the Target logo. With the tendency for social media users to use creative and varied images for their profile pics, as a business you need to resist the temptation to play. The profile pic is the picture that is attached to everything you do on social media, from comments to posts to content sharing. Use your logo as your profile pic and avoid confusion as to who you are. Studies have shown that people perceive images 60,000 times faster than they read text, so even if your company name is adjacent, most people will see your profile pic first.
Consider the size of the logo in its various formats. It’s much larger on your homepage than it is next to a comment, for example. Since you use the same image for both, make sure the logo is properly designed to be clearly visible at both the smallest and largest sizes. The exact image sizes are readily available online if you need them for testing.
You may have some flexibility in alternate version of your logo, such as the recent trend of businesses on social media to place their logo over an LGBT flag to express solidarity, but even in such instances, the old familiar logo is still present and easily recognized, in spite of the temporary change.
4. Images – One of the most powerful images you have in your corner is image sharing. Most social media sites exist first to connect people, and second to share content, so the images you post can be completely customized. This gives you total control over everything but the final size, which is often limited by the site itself, meaning rectangular images will be scaled down, or tall images may be cropped in the feed and require a second click by the viewer to see the entire image. Those limits notwithstanding, you are free to emphasize as many elements of your brand in the content that you share, and you should.
In addition to your profile picture, many social media sites allow for an additional cover photo. This the banner style photo at the top of your profile home page. It’s usually only visible there, but conveniently allows you to add much more information about your company or brand without needing to compromise your logo profile picture. You can post generic content such as a logo, or even post info about a sale or event you think noteworthy.
Additionally, on Facebook, you have the ability to “pin” a particular post to the top of your homepage feed. It can be any post you like, which gives you a third functional and customizable element right on your homepage.
5. Video – While text and images are often the fastest ways to communicate with your followers, most social media sites integrate video into their code, so users can press play and watch a video without being redirected to another site. This gives you an expanded capacity for communicating more content that doesn’t require a tremendous amount of effort from the viewer, while also adding audio to your brand building toolbox. You can include your theme song, or music that you feel is consistent with your brand, in the videos themselves. Due to the fact that they can be muted, it would be unwise to rely on the audio to brand the video, rather it can be used to supplement the colors, logos and fonts already visible.
6. Watch and Repeat – One of the best ways to learn the tricks of the trade is to watch those who are better than you. What do the major corporations do that you don’t? Anything that you can learn from them, or apply to your own pages? How do they break the rules and why does it work?
There are limits with any approach, but the key is to maximize your brand exposure by making the most out of what you have. If you’re shipping products to a customer, and you use a Shopify bill of lading to transfer the title, neither the form, the mailman or the truck will bear your brand elements. Those are just the limits, so the stronger an impression you can make before the brand experience leaves your control, the better positioned you’ll be to hold up against unpleasant surprises.
You are your own company and need a brand of your own, but sometimes the easiest way to find that is through trial and error. Stick to these basics as ground rules until you learn when and how you can deviate from them, and you’ll never run the risk of confusing your followers about whose site they’re on.
Author Bio: Nick Rojas is a freelance business/marketing journalist and a business consultant. The author’s views above are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Mastermind Blogger.