I want to ask you a simple question. What is the first thing people notice about your social media profile? No, it's not your content. It's also not how many followers you have. It's your profile itself! I know what you're thinking. Duh, captain obvious of course they see your profile first. Your profile, regardless of what platform you're using, is frequently a consumer's first impression of your organization. You want to make sure that it's clean, professional, and enticing so that people spend time going from post to post. (Psychologically, the more time people spend looking at your profile, the more likely you are to pop into their heads when they need whatever product or service you are offering.) So how do you do that?
I'm glad you asked! If you're just starting out or don't have a considerable presence online, your first priority should be building your brand. Unless what you do is so niche that you don't have any competition, your branding will be the only thing that sets you apart. Your content needs to be easily recognizable. It needs to stand out as yours. That all starts with a great logo. Did you know that the Coca Cola logo is recognized by 94% of the world's population? This is important because if you want your content to be easily recognizable as your own, it starts with a great logo. It's a great idea to brand all of your visual content with your logo or tagline because as you begin to generate some really engaging content, someone will inevitably steal it and try and post it as their own.
It's also imperative to keep your brand messaging, image, and tone consistent across all platforms and with your content. What does all of that mean exactly? Well, let's say, for example, that you are the owner of a successful steakhouse. You have built a decent following of red meat-loving carnivores who have fallen in love with your products. Then, all of a sudden, overnight, you decide you are going to switch things up to become a completely vegan restaurant. You're going to lose a ton of followers very quickly. You must remain consistent with your views, ideas, and content you present to stay memorable and trustworthy. Once you find the one thing you are good at and that you do better than anyone else, it's essential to keep up that course and not try and pivot to something that isn't in your wheelhouse. Sure, developing your voice and your messaging will involve some trial and error, and that's normal. Remember, to build a successful brand, it's going to take time. If you can develop brand guidelines early and stick to them, you'll be successful. Find your color scheme, a few fonts, and a positive and upbeat message, and you'll be on your way in no time!
I can't stress enough how vital brand consistency is when building a following on social media. Building brand consistency is hard enough on one platform as it is. How can you possibly try and keep that consistency across multiple platforms all at once?
How do you make sure that the tone you have on Facebook matches the tone in your email marketing and on your Instagram page? How is it possible to keep that tone and branding consistent when you're speaking to multiple audiences and demographics on the different platforms? It all seems so overwhelming! Chill. We got this. You see, having a color scheme, a good logo, and right fonts aren't all that makes up a good brand. There is an X factor that your brand also has that no one else has. That X factor is YOU! It's your personality, it's how you speak, and how you make your customer feel. It doesn't matter if you own a gas station or five-star hotel, there is a vibe that people get when they walk in the door. Your business gives them a certain feeling that they take with them when they leave.
For example, as of writing this post, I am keeping my hair buzzed. This is something I can do myself from home for free, yet every 3 weeks, I go to a barbershop here in town and pay twice what I would pay at any other haircut spot in the city. I do this because of the experience I get when I go there. It's the pictures of old Sinatra albums and iconic sports heroes on the wall. It's the banter back and forth between my barber and me. It's that feeling of comfort that makes all other distractions from my life disappear for the hour or so that I'm there. When you build that kind of experience for your clients, you no longer are just providing a service or selling a product. You're giving them a long-lasting impression that will stick with them long after they leave your business. I've been through a few barbers there, but I'm loyal to that shop because of the experience. Sure, they give a fantastic haircut, but my brand loyalty is based on a much deeper connection. You need to be able to give off that same vibe and trigger those same feelings over social media. When people see your posts, they should be flooded with those same feelings and emotions they have when they are there. That's when you know you've made it. This is why it's crucial to consult with or hire a professional to handle your social media marketing.
You know that saying that says, "Let's get back to basics?" If we start there and set up a stable foundation, you don't have to get back to them. (Remember earlier when I said not to deviate from what you're good at?) It all starts with your logo being prominently positioned as your profile picture or on your cover photo. People need to get comfortable seeing that logo so they can identify it with you and your brand. Then it comes down to keeping a similar color palette throughout the profile. This is part of both brand consistency and brand recognition. If I had to ask you what the color pallet was for Ikea or McDonalds, would you know? I bet you would. Or if I asked you if you could point out what font belonged to Walt Disney or Nintendo, you probably could. That's why these things are essential. Regardless of what font you use or color scheme you go with, it's vital that all your profiles have some kind of commonality that makes them stand out as your own.
Now that we have covered the basics, let's do our best Emeril impression, and, did you already say it? See, this stuff is essential. Let's kick it up a notch! BAM! That's part of his brand and is instantly recognizable.
By now, we've got a sweet logo and a color scheme that makes our brand stand out. What does it mean to kick it up a notch? I'm glad you asked. It means that you are making sure that you have the same colors and fonts reflected in your images, graphics, and videos. This can be as simple as using the same frame on all of your visual content, using the same filter, or putting your logo in the same spot. It's what is going to make you stand out from the rest.
Let's give you a real-life example.
When someone sees a picture on your Facebook page, does it pop the same as it does on your Instagram page? If you are putting text on your videos and images, is it the same font that you used on your other photos on your blog or YouTube videos? A lot of people, I'll say it louder for the people in the back, A LOT OF PEOPLE skip this step and just post a ton of different looking content across all platforms. You can't see me right now, but I'm shaking my head. This is crucial because, over time, your clients and followers will get used to your posts' consistency and begin to recognize them instantly without even seeing your logo or social media handle on them. That's the good stuff right there! That's when you know you've made it. That is what will stop your clients from scrolling endlessly and have them pay attention to your content. Do you know where you're at when that happens? You're in good hands. (See what I did there?)
I could go on for about five more pages on the importance of branding your social media profiles because it's that crucial to your success online. I'll leave you with a simple checklist to help you get started. After that, if you want someone to check your work and make sure you're on the right track, just reach out to me and set up a meeting. We can grab some coffee and talk about branding.
It will be fun.
STEPS TO TAKE TO BRAND YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA:
Get a logo designed that can look good in multiple formats on multiple platforms.
Pick out a color scheme that works for your industry and company.
Pick out 2 or 3 fonts that you like that are unique and recognizable that fit your brand.
Consult a professional before you start pushing your brand out to the public.