Jodie Manners, Copywriter
We all want to find our clique, which is why we surround ourselves with people who are like us. People we can relate to. Interestingly, evidence suggests we extend this preference to brands. Our favourites are all well-defined and relatable. We’re talking brands that:
- Give off a strong and narrow message
- Clearly define their target audience
- Consistently reinforce the above
And it seems their tactics pay dividends at the tills. Three-quarters of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company if they recognize their brand and almost all of us prefer to buy from those that share our values.
What does this mean for social media?
Brands that present a consistent image build brand loyalty, improve customer engagement and generate more organic interest in what they do. In this article, we’ll take a look at four ways you can make this happen for your business by maintaining your brand identity across your social platforms.
Why don’t businesses just clone their profiles?
Perfectly matching up your profile information across multiple social platforms can be a real challenge because:
- Most businesses use three or more platforms on a regular basis
- Each platform focuses on a specific type of media (image, text, video)
- Different platforms appeal to different audiences
- Each one requires a different strategy for success
So, maintaining consistency is less about cloning your approach and more about adapting it in a way that is consistent and true to your brand.
Define your brand personality
Setting your brand personality is an essential step in projecting a consistent image. You can think of is as a set of feelings, characteristics and ideas that your customers associate with your brand.
To sketch out who your brand is, you can ask yourself these questions:
- What are its values (community spirit, professionalism, environmentalism, family)?
- What are its goals (showcase sustainability, redefine an industry, world domination)?
- What characteristics does it portray (friendly, energetic, funny, sophisticated, sarcastic, etc.)?
It is a very intuitive process and can lay the foundation for your Brand Book (if you aim to have one). Let’s take a look at a few examples of brands who’ve excelled at personality building.
Innocent Vs Coca Cola
Even though Innocent Drinks comes under the Coca Cola umbrella, the personality demonstrated on their UK Home pages could not be more different. Why? Because they target totally different audiences.
Innocent smoothie drinkers are generally late-twenties-and-older, health-conscious consumers. Whereas, Coke drinkers couldn’t be further from the my-body-is-a-temple vibe. Where coke is ‘cool’, Innocent are fun and this is reflected in the colour palette, vocabulary, tone and style of their Home pages.
Stick to a visual style
Which brings us to ‘style’. In branding, style can mean logos, taglines, vocabulary, fonts, colour schemes, graphics, image filters, shapes and more. It’s the first things people notice when they click through to a social profile and the quickest way to recognize a brand.
Most brands base their social profiles on their website. If you use sketch illustrations throughout your domain, don’t go for abstract shapes on your social profile. Note that, if you’re using a website builder, you might have to work a little harder to find non-generic elements to base your social branding on.
Looking back to Innocent’s Home page, the colour palette is very clearly defined. When we look across to their Facebook and Instagram, we see the same tones. If you searched for innocent on either platform, you’d instantly recognize their profile.
Apart from their logo, the consistent colour palette is the thing that makes all of these profiles so ‘Innocent’. The muted and earthy fruity blues, greens, reds and oranges are a widely known part of their brand personality.
Even smaller, local companies can do a great job of being consistent and recognizable online. UK organic food delivery company Riverford ‘s website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all contain the same logo and use the same custom graphics.
Their style choice appropriately reflects their brand, which is kind of friendly and back-to-nature, yet traditional.
Although some profiles restrict what you can include, it’s always possible add in branded imagery and graphics.
Maintain your brand ‘voice’
Even though your brand targets a specific audience, demographics are likely to differ across platforms. For example, Instagrammers tend to be younger than Facebook users. Thankfully, it’s possible to set a brand voice and still be flexible enough to adapt to different audience groups. To adapt, you might:
- Use cultural references relevant to a platform’s audience
- Be more or less wordy depending on the convention of a platform
- Present your content using different media
But, to keep thinks branded, you’ll tie it together with consistent:
Create a ‘Tone of Voice’ guide
A lot of smaller businesses and solopreneurs maintain their voice by being their only content writer. Unfortunately, this isn’t a sustainable solution for most businesses, especially as they grow.
What do you do if you have a large content team, have to change writers regularly or you use multiple freelancers?
You create a ‘Tone of Voice’ guide. This simple document lays out the vocabulary, tone, punctuation and personality that all content creators to aim to use.
You might find it helpful to employ an editor who filters all the content that comes through and makes sure it fits with the guidelines.
Berghaus Vs Cotopaxi
You can see these principles in action if we compare two popular outdoor clothing brands. Berghaus’ tone appeals to casual nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. They use vocabulary like ‘stroll’ and phrases like ‘the outdoors brings us life’. Families and otherwise 9-5 working nature-lovers choose Berghaus.
On the other hand, Cotopaxi target the far less casual, more adventurous outdoor lover who is committed to ethical consumerism. They use words like ‘power’ and ‘adventure’ and focus on the phrase ‘make the world better’.
They sell very similar products but have very different audiences and let this shine through in their brand voice.
Focus on a defined range of topics
We all know that content is the key to marketing success, but when working across platforms, a company’s message can easily get confused. Producing less content that is relevant, useful and of high quality is always better than churning out a load of fluff into the content void.
You want to be known for your expertise and attract to your brand who identify with it.
When working across multiple platforms, your content will need to be tweaked to fit (see above). But, you can keep things consistent by covering the same topics at the same. The best way to do this is by using a content calendar.
A content calendar helps you focus on a particular ‘theme’ for a defined period of time (usually a month) and then move on. You can announce each new theme to your subscribers in your email newsletter.
People will have a much easier time identifying your business across social platforms if all of them are talking about the same things at the same time. To adapt to each platform, you could:
- Use quotes from longer content in Twitter
- Create infographics for Pinterest from blogs
- Turn blogs into videos for YouTube
Social media platforms have forever changed the way businesses do marketing. And, while they offer seemingly endless opportunity to get the word out about your brand, some businesses find themselves drowned out in the crowd. Maintaining a consistent brand identity between your website and all your social platforms is the best way to stay visible relevant. Your business can stand out if you get your style in order, settle on a tone of voice and set up a content calendar today.
About the Author: “Jodie is a Creative Copywriter, SEO enthusiast and graduate of the University of Cambridge. She’s been generating profit with her words for over a decade. In her 10-year non-profit fundraising career, she raised over £2million for NPOs through face-to-face sales, management and expert training. She writes copy that inspires action and lives to help ethical and creative business owners, solopreneurs and non-profits find their voice and get ahead online. You can connect with Jodie through LinkedIn.”
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