Maintaining a consistent brand image across various social media platforms is crucial in the dynamic digital marketing world, where it seems new platforms and trends are constantly popping up. This is where a social media style guide comes in, serving as a roadmap for your brand’s online presence and ensuring you can be recognized at a glance, even when surrounded by competition.
What Is A Social Media Style Guide?
A social media style guide is a comprehensive document outlining how your brand should be presented. It covers everything from the tone of voice to visual aesthetics, ensuring that your brand is represented the same way on Instagram as it is on TikTok, and so on. A style guide is especially important when more than one person will be working on content for your accounts, as it keeps everyone on the same page.
A well-documented style guide will help you train new team members and make content creation much easier. Small business owners can feed their brand guide to apps like Canva to speed up graphic and video content creation.
A Fool-Proof Guide To Creating A Social Media Style Guide For Your Brand
1. Identifying Your Key Platforms
It’s tempting to want your brand to be absolutely everywhere, but in reality, there will be some social platforms that just naturally fit better for your brand. Evaluate the target audience of each platform and match that to the target audience you’re trying to reach. For example, TikTok is tailored to a younger, hipper crowd. If your product is for people aged 50 and up, having an account there might not be worth your time and energy.
Try to identify two to three platforms that will best represent your brand and start by building your accounts there.
Check out this infographic from Wordstream to help you decide which platform suits your brand best.
Once you’ve selected your platforms, decide which types of content you will focus on. For example, on Instagram, you might want to focus on educational carousels and long-form videos if you have a more technical product. If you’re selling something fun, like makeup or clothing, you might want to focus on beautiful single photos and short, trendy Reels.
2. Define A Personalized Brand Voice And Overall Tone
Online, customers connect better with a brand that has an almost human-like personality. You may have noticed some social media accounts of major brands have become much wittier and trendy in their recent marketing efforts on social media.
Choose a personality for your brand and always stick with it. It should be friendly but also professional. Just how friendly or how professional you are will be determined by your product or service.
While we’re on this step, you should also define if your posts will use emojis, how many or how often, and what hashtags you might want to use on a typical post. You can even decide how long your captions will be as part of this process. These elements will all become part of your online voice.
3. Setting Up Visual Standards
Visual elements like color schemes, imagery, and logos play a vital role in brand recognition. For example, everyone can easily recognize the bright red background and golden arches of McDonald’s.
It’s really important to have fun with your brand’s colors while keeping them consistent! Think of them as your brand’s wardrobe. Just like you’d pick out a favorite shirt or dress, choose your main colors and a few secondary shades for variety. But remember, your primary colors are the stars of the show, so let them shine the most. Keeping these colors consistent across all your social media will really tie your brand’s look together, making it instantly recognizable and super cohesive!
Your style guide should detail these aspects to maintain visual consistency across all posts and platforms. The graphics you post should have similar color pallets and a set of fonts that are used consistently. Make sure to use the same visual guide for each social media platform. Your content might be different, but your style and voice should remain the same.
4. Create A Set Of Protocols For Interacting With Consumers
These days, the lines between social media and customer service are blurry. Younger, tech-savvy consumers want to be able to reach out to brands on social media when they need help or have questions. It will be beneficial for you to have rules in place about how these questions are answered or directed.
Your social media manager will also engage with your followers’ content and respond to comments left on your content. Having a brand guide can help them word their responses perfectly.
It’s also important to include some guidelines about addressing or answering competitors you may run into online. If you choose to speak about competitors in your social media, running your ideas past a lawyer or legal team would be a good idea first.
5. Add A Reminder To Your Calendar To Update Your Social Media Style Guide Regularly
This style guide should be a living document that grows and changes over time. Trends move quickly on social media, and you have to be able to keep up while still sticking to your core brand values and style.
Here is a great video that gives you a behind-the-scenes peek at what other brands are doing to create their style guides.
Creating a social media style guide is an ongoing process that requires attention and adaptation. By investing the time and resources into developing a comprehensive guide, you can ensure a strong, consistent brand presence across all social media platforms.
Remember, a well-crafted style guide is not just a set of rules but a reflection of your brand’s identity and values, resonating with your audience in every post, tweet, or update.