Branding (Part 3): Creating a consistent brand on social media

Note: Today’s installment of the branding series is a guest post from Meghan Frick

You probably don’t need to be told that social media’s a powerful tool for your business – whatever your business is. And social media is important for your business for the same reasons it’s such a force in your personal life – it’s a way to build real friendships and networks, based around pretty much anything.

At its core and at its best, social media is about relationships. You are in the best position to strengthen your business when you are building genuine relationships with potential clients, customers, and partners.

That’s easier to do when your social media accounts are tied together with a consistent visual and editorial brand. When you post and when you interact with other users, people should know – seamlessly, easily – who they’re interacting with. Here are a few easy ways to strengthen your social branding.

1. Brand your images

Watermarking the photos you post to social media is a simple way to include a visual reminder of your business and what it stands for in nearly every post. Here’s how we do this at my day job. There are a ton of different options for branding your photos, but we accomplished this effect by converting our logo into a Photoshop brush preset.

Tip: Unless you’re a photography business – meaning your images are the product you sell – don’t make your watermark so obtrusive that it would deter other users from sharing your images. In most industries, you want people sharing your images on social! The brand is more of a visual cue than a banner proclaiming “this is mine!” 

2. Take advantage of valuable real estate

Any social media account you create comes with some built-in real estate that allows you to communicate your visual brand. Think cover photos, profile images, “about” sections, etc. Don’t let these go to waste. For your cover images, create collages or sharp, appealing graphics. Use sections like your Twitter bio to point to other content, like your most recent blog post or your business’s other social-media accounts. Never leave a profile picture or a bio blank – be strategic in your use of these “built-in” sections.

3. Pay careful attention to consistency of quality

Put another way: if you’re going to put it out there, make it good. Shoot and select sharp photos. Carefully proof your writing – and, if you’re prone to mistakes, let someone else comb through it too. Develop a consistent editorial style (for example, refer to yourself and your business in the same way; no fluctuating between I and we). Develop a reasonable consistency of written tone – many accounts do well with a decidedly untraditional tone, but you don’t want to switch between that and super-seriousness.

I’ll end with a warning, though.

I approach social media – even for business purposes – with an attitude of “inspiration, not rules.” If I’m tweeting live and don’t have time to brand a photo, I post the photo anyway. If a slightly blurry image reflects an exceptional moment, I sharpen it up as much as I can in Photoshop…and then I post it anyway. You don’t want to seem canned, and you don’t want your branding efforts to detract from real communication and opportunities to share what you and your organization are all about.

How do you brand your social media accounts? How has social media been valuable to you as a professional? Let us know in the comments!

Meghan Frick is a communications and social media specialist for the Georgia Department of Education by day, and a blogger and freelancer by night. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, or her blog.