02 Feb How and Why to Establish Brand Guidelines as Part of Your Social Media Strategy
Social media brand guidelines keep everyone on the same page when it comes to voice, visuals, and values. Here’s what we recommend be included on yours.
If the only brand guidelines your company has are in a few pages about colors and fonts accumulating dust in a corner, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with your brand guidelines – and draft a set specifically for your social media strategy. A good set of brand guidelines is a living, breathing thing that sees enough action that the dust never settles, a road map to your brand for anyone who needs to know your voice, vision, and target demographic.
To keep everyone on the same page and ensure your social feeds remain cohesive, well-curated, and on-brand, here’s what we recommend you include in this all-important document.
What to Include in Your Social Media Branding Guidelines:
Overarching Brand Strategy
This is where to repeat the overarching brand strategy that’s in your company’s brand guidelines. Make it clear to new staff who will be posting socially just who are you as a company, what the company values are, and the target audience they should keep in mind.
This information is also pulled from your overarching brand guidelines, but it dictates how you approach your social strategy entirely. Who are your target buyers? What are their job titles? What kind of characteristics make them likely to buy your brand’s products or services? These factors determine how you market to them, so spell it out for anyone who would be reading this document to get to know your brand.
Which is more fitting to your brand: “rad” or “cutting edge”? The two can mean similar things – cool, forward thinking, trendy, chic – but the connotation is very different, depending on the adjective. The way you write on social media will form the perception of those who find your brand on those platforms – so make sure the representation is on point. Don’t forget that language also includes hashtags – are you going for trending or consistent? Play with hashtags for performance, but make sure none stray too far outside of your brand. And be very careful a hashtag you use can’t be taken out of context or mean something different.
Are gritty, super filtered photos on brand for your company, or is your brand more about high-resolution, professionally shot images with impeccable lighting and composition? Ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to what images represent your brand and populate your social media feeds. Once you set the look of your feed, make sure all images are filtered and cropped according to that look.
Best Practices for Each Platform
This will likely be the biggest section of your social media brand guidelines. Each platform has its own unique best practices, and this is where you should be spelling them out. Give the ideal posting frequency, the time of day where posts will see the best engagement, what kind of content performs most successfully, and so on. Also, make sure you map out exactly which position/person is responsible for posting on each platform so that everyone knows who “owns” it.