Guest post by Shaun Fagan, founder at Black Dog New Media.
Ok, you’ve got your handle on Twitter, readied your Facebook timeline, got your YouTube channel up, dabbled with Pinterest, Quora and LinkedIn, surely that’s enough, not more work?!
Why is this important?
Well, thinking about branding across your social media footprint deserves a little attention. Don’t worry, it’s not something that will take up a lot of time once the initial work is done.
And it is an investment in time. Once the Next Big Thing comes along (resurgent MySpace, anyone?), setting it up will be all the easier if you’ve got your branding sorted. So it will save time as well as enhancing your online presence, making it more effective.
What are we talking about, exactly?
We’re talking about taking some time, and perhaps engaging some professional help, to develop a brand look and feel that’s consistent across your digital footprint.
When someone moves from a tweet to your Facebook page or LinkedIn profile, you want them to realise subconsciously that it’s all about the same company – you or your brand identity.
You should think about some or all of the following:
- Logo (and no, your company name in a fancy font is not a logo!)
- A colour scheme for web and social media pages that unites your various chunks of digital real estate
- Images that define your product or service
- Photos of yourself and other key members of your team to post when appropriate
- You might want to expand the exercise to defining some straplines that represent your product or service the way you want it to be represented.
It’s obvious that if you have all of that easily available then you can respond quickly whenever a social media task becomes apparent. No more digging around to find that half-decent photo of yourself or trying to remember your strapline.
How much work do you need to do?
If you work completely online then you don’t need much more than that. You might want to expand the work to defining standard fonts to use in places where you get the choice, for example your website, blogs, maybe an about.me page.
Logos ‘r’ us
Your logo is probably your most important tool. If a full-blown branding exercise is currently beyond you, at least get a professional logo drawn up. You’d be amazed at what goes into logo design and you can then use colours from it to tie your social media profile pages together.
Try the logo at different sizes – make sure it scales well or has an abbreviated option that works in places where it will be very small, or only part of it is used. Get versions that work in square, portrait and landscape orientations.
Professional photos are a must, unless you have friends or family who are really good photographers. The difference between professional portraits and amateur ones can be phenomenal. Get versions in all the different sizes and shapes you might need.
Again the idea is to use the same photos, or ones from the same set, across the various different social media platforms, enhancing your overall presence, making you more recognisable.
Facebook’s timeline banner has been around for a while, Google+ had it from the beginning and LinkedIn has now joined in.
This is another chance to enhance your identity; whether you use a photo, logo, graphic, or an image created from a combination, make sure it’s the same or complementary across all three.
Protect your brand at all costs
Remember that although a common look and feel will enhance your brand no end, it’s the way you act on social media platforms that demonstrates your values and principles to the world. Make sure that you, and anyone working in your social media space on your behalf, acts in the right way.
It’s no good spending all that time and money on great branding if your actual use of social media undermines it.
Examples of Black Dog New Media’s branding work can be found here.