With the multiple platforms available for social media marketing today, it’s easy to understand how companies allow their brand to send mixed signals across each of their social pages. Is your Facebook page reminding customers of your long-term existence while your Twitter page is boasting its futuristic ideals? Is your Google+ page giving nod to only one sector of your company, while your LinkedIn page is focusing on another? While your company may do all of the above, sending too many messages to your online fans can make your brand seem disjointed and unorganized. Your followers want to feel that your social media pages are just as important to you as your other advertising endeavors, and that thought and care have been put into making them give voice to a consistent message.
If your business has been around since before the whole “social media thing” started, maintaining a consistent brand image is reinforcing what your customers already know. You’ve taken care to project this image, from your in-store price signs to your television spot. If your social pages don’t stay true to this image, you’re only undermining what you have taken so long and worked so hard to achieve. If your business is new, having a consistent message across platforms builds brand recognition and tells the consumer who you really are.
There are many ways to ensure you are creating a consistent brand image across the board. From logos to colors to copy, all parts of your company’s pages should be strategically considered. And what better way to learn this than to look at companies who have mastered the art of brand consistency?
Work from the same color palette.
Using the same and complementary colors across your social platforms is key to maintaining consistency. If someone has your Facebook page open in one tab, and your Google+ page in the other, are they going to know in two seconds without looking at your logos, or reading your name, that they have switched to different pages for the same company?
Levi’s does this well, using red in all of their profile photos. They also maintain a consistent image in their cover photos, using shots of models in their jeans with the same grungy-chic feel across the board. And to merge with the business side of LinkedIn, they use a photo of an office front bearing the full Levi Strauss & Co name. Although this may stray away from the model photos, it still keeps the same feel with a similar color palette.
Use the same logo.
Using the same logo isn’t necessarily something that has to be implemented across your sites. It is possible to maintain a consistent feel while using a variation of logos that fit that platform’s profile photo specs. But, if you don’t want to be bothered with concern about whether your logos are giving off cohesive vibes, sticking to the same one can avoid this issue all together. Refinery29 has discovered this (as well as my previous tip about color) on their social media pages.
Speak from one mind.
That may sound a little hippie-centric there, but posting content and copy that sounds as if it is coming from one brain is important to maintaining consistency, this time not only across platforms, but on the same platform. If you’re posting statuses such as “At our 2013 conference and exhibition, industry-leading speakers…” and then “We heard from lots of big-wigs at this year’s get-together!” you won’t be providing your followers with any insight into who you are. If you believe industry-specific terms and information is a good representation of your brand, then maintain that representation. If a more laid-back, layman’s-friendly feel is more your thing, then maintain that.
Justin’s does this well by posting content that is upbeat and customer-centric. Lots of exclamation points (!!!) and questions geared towards the customer gives them a down-to-earth, we’re-people-just-like-you voice.
Be your own customer.
And then there are the tips that just can’t be taught. Getting into the mind of the consumer is important in maintaining a consistent image. This, however, is not an easy task. You must forget what you already know about your company. Put aside the long nights and early mornings. Forget about that time you published an ad with a misspelled word or you argued with your marketing director over which logo to use. What you feel about your company—from the passion you put into your work to the frustration you get when something doesn’t go your way to the excitement you feel when a new campaign is kicked off—is not what your customer’s feel about your company. They don’t know how long it took to decide on that logo, or the effort that was put into harnessing the right feel for your television spot. You need to make them feel one way about your brand. And in order to do that, you must (temporarily) feel nothing about it.
Pull up all of your company’s social media pages on your web browser and quickly flip through them all, only stopping for ten seconds on each. Do you feel the same way from start to finish? Tap into that feeling. Is it a feeling of power? Of fun? Of quirkiness? Of wealth? Of class? If you feel something different from page to page, discover what it is by going back and taking a deeper look. Once you locate the source of the inconsistency, work with others to determine how to change and fix the issue.
Warby Parker is a good example of a brand who has maintained its voice without using the same logo, or the exact same color scheme. Even though there is a difference amongst each page, consumers still receive the same message—boutique-quirkiness with class and individuality—across platforms.
Broadcasting your brand message across social media platforms needs to be seen as not a new way to build brand image, but an addition to the brand image you have already created. If your social sites are consistent with each other, but inconsistent with your store front, or your print advertisements, or your letterheads, or your business cards, then there is still a problem of mixed messaging. Although it is likely that different departments or even outsourced agencies handle your various marketing endeavors, a meeting of the minds is necessary for displaying the image you want to display. Your customers should feel the same way when they “Like” your Facebook page as they do when they make a purchase in your store. Both times they are giving something to your company. Make sure your company is giving a consistent something back to them.