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May 26, 2016

Most customers today get their first impressions of a brand online. In fact, 65% of online users rely on the web to find information on companies. Therefore it’s important to pay close attention to your brand’s online presence, a huge part of which is made up of social media.

Let’s start with the basics. What is a brand?

Simply put, your brand is how people, including potential customers, perceive you. It’s not just a company logo or color scheme (although that’s part of it); it’s your company’s personality, its story and its overall image. It’s not just what your company says about itself, but what others say about you as well.

Ultimately, branding is the process of shaping perceptions, and thanks to social media, you have the opportunity to shape perceptions 24/7. With that in mind, here are three best practices to consider when developing your brand on social media:

1.) Consistency is crucial

An effective brand must be consistent across all messaging and communication, including your social media platforms.

Look the part

Be thoughtful with the look of your social media profiles. Your profile picture, your cover image, etc., should all be on-brand, consistent and easily identifiable.

Note: Keep social media in mind when developing your visual brand. If the company logo isn’t fit for a thumbnail image, you’ll need to have a variation designed for your social media channels.

Don’t ignore the details

Don’t leave anything blank! Fill out the bio/company info sections, be sure to include your website URL, and put your company’s HQ in the location section.

  • Use continual visual cues

Any graphics you post should be in line with your company’s branding guidelines in terms of font and colors, and should include your logo. If someone were to see the image alone, they should still be able to identify that it came from your company.

  • Talk the talk

Finally, the content you’re posting should mirror your brand voice. Just like your company’s tone of communication and the style of writing should be consistent throughout corporate messaging, the same applies to social media. Your content must be authentic and in line with your company’s product and messaging. Is your brand fun and energetic? Be conversational. If your brand is more professional, be direct.

2.) Pick the platforms that are right for your brand

Your company doesn’t need to be on every single social platform out there. In fact, it’s a waste of time. A B2B brand often has no business being on Instagram or Pinterest, while a highly consumer brand may not perform as well on LinkedIn. Pick the platforms that best support your brand image and goals, and own them!

3.) Engage authentically

Last but certainly not least: Keep branding in mind when talking to your customers! Engaging customers via social is critical. In fact, if you’re not responding to your customers online, Sprout Social says you could lose 30% of them to competitors. Plus, as one-third of millennials’ preferred channel for communicating with businesses, social media engagement is more important than ever. Especially since millennials will have the most spending power of any generation by 2018 ($3.39 trillion).

But, brands have to find a balance when engaging online to sound like a human being while remaining true to their brand voice. This not only makes your brand more relatable, but also builds trust with your audience. Respond to users quickly and genuinely (i.e., don’t use a canned or automated response, which can easily backfire and is impersonal).

As you can see in the image below, JetBlue responded to this customer within 10 minutes with a tailored and genuine response. (Do!) While in the next example, you see Bank of America using a clearly automated response for every customer who tweeted at the company, no matter the situation. (Don’t!)

Are your social media pages visually compelling and on-brand? Does your written content reflect your brand voice? And are you engaging authentically and consistently? If not, go put your new social media branding wisdom to work!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to take your brand’s social media to the next level, give us a shout!