People who come across your content online should be able to recognise your brand immediately, whether or not your logo or company name is there. This is what we call social media branding and it’s implemented across all your social media platforms -from Twitter to your blog, from Instagram to Pinterest – creating a brand personality.
If you have a good marketing campaign in place, then you know your target demographic, and hopefully you’ll have a tone set for your advertising, but what a lot of companies forget is that branding goes so much deeper than the font you use in your posters. Branding is in the way your employees answer the phones. Branding is in the way your shop staff greet customers. Branding is an on-going process, and it happens every time a potential customer or client interacts with your business.
The question which you need to ask yourself is: Does my brand have a personality?
And the second question you need to answer is: Is that personality cohesive across all our social media platforms?
Many companies use the different platforms in different ways, and this is recommended as users go to Facebook for a different experience than Twitter, or Pinterest. However, in trying to appeal to the varied ways in which people use social media, a company’s personality, or branding, can get lost in the haste to gain ‘Likes’ or get ‘Pinned’. It may even be that what ‘works’ in gathering this validation does not actually fall in line with the company’s values.
Perhaps your target demographic are adventurous and fun-loving, but you suddenly receive a lot of likes on Instagram for a photo of your boss’s dog. So naturally, you start sharing a few more photos of the dog because it gets good engagement. Adventurous, fun-loving people love dogs too, right? Except, you sell climbing gear and no-one’s ever scaled Mt. Everest with a dog. (Not with its own crampons, anyway.) People who start to follow you on Instagram who love dogs then go to your website, which is dog-less, and they get upset. People who add you on Instagram because they enjoy your funny climbing stories on Twitter get confused because all they’re seeing is dog pictures.
This is the time to sit down with your social media manager and discuss a cohesive brand identity for your social media marketing. When you decide what your brand personality is (and this might be different from your target demographic’s qualities) then anyone should be able to run any of your social media accounts using this information as a touchstone. Every tweet, photo, update, link and pin should reflect your brand identity, to the point where customers and internet users are able to recognise your signature style without having to see your logo or company name.