How to make brand guidelines work for social media
A brand is an identity that provides meaning behind every action. It shows up in all shapes and sizes, from the colours you use to the words you say, and even how you decide to communicate with your customers.
Brand guidelines are typically pretty straightforward to follow e.g. stationery, colour palettes, fonts etc. However, how can you allow for the necessary creativity and fast-moving actions involved in Social Media, whilst staying in line with the brand values, identity etc? Read on to find out how to make brand guidelines work for social media.
Break it down
How do you make brand guidelines work for social media? The first thing to understand is that the traditional format of brand guidelines does not necessarily work for social media. You can create some basic templates and share them as needed, but this will be more time-consuming than you might think. The main reason is that each platform has its own layout and design requirements. To make social media work for your brand, you need to really understand what your customers want from your posts.
Listen to your customers
The most important thing is to listen. Social media brings the opportunity for powerful communication with your customers that was never before possible. You can ask questions, discover needs or even suggestions that might improve their experience. Do not just collect this data for your records, use it to make informed decisions about how to interact with your customers on social media – this is why listening is so important.
Be specific where you can
Provide a detailed list of specific guidelines – what is allowed and what is not for each social media platform – with examples to back up why it has been included or excluded. This can be very helpful to make brand guidelines wok for social media.
This list should include:
- The specific platform (eg Facebook) and the relevant specifics (header, logo etc.)
- Fonts (size, colour etc.)
- Logo use (how it is used and where)
- Images/GIFS allowed or disallowed.
- Video/audio clips allowed or disallowed.
- Guidance on the tone of voice to use.
- Tagging: is it okay to tag people and accounts?
- Use of emojis.
- Use of hashtags and which to use.
Having clear guidance of the most important aspects is important. You want to make sure that your business image is not going to be damaged, but this should not deter you from thinking outside the box.
Be creative and personal
Social media also offers the opportunity for your brand to be creative and innovative within its interactions with its customers. Be bold, push the boundaries of what is expected of you as a business. However, this does not mean you should ignore the image of your brand and you should always think about how each message might impact your customer’s perception. The main thing to remember is that you need to listen and act on the feedback of your clientele.
Social media is called social for a reason. It’s proven that the more personal and sociable the content, the more engagement it gets. People want to interact with others so the more amiable your brand is the better. Being creative, listening and engaging with your customer is the most important aspect of social media.
Is social media worth it?
Yes! It might feel like a lot of work, but if done correctly social media is a powerful tool. Have some guidelines to be sure your image stays true to your brand, but be real and treat your customers like people, and your business will go a long way.
Need a creative boost?
We are here to guide you. Seeking assistance from a creative agency on your social media brand guidelines can be a great help, especially if you are not that familiar with some of the properties of the various platforms.
At Plan B we have an experienced team ready to help you with your social media. Get in touch and we will be happy to discuss how you can make the most of each platform.