Step 3: Branding
Once you’ve identified which social media platforms to join, you will need to create accounts for each one. Maintaining your brand identity on your social media accounts may seem like a no-brainer, yet it still requires attention. Be sure to be thorough and consistent in creating (or reviewing) your social media account profiles to achieve successful branding.
Set Your Profile Name
When setting up your profile, select a profile name that matches your business name exactly. This will make it easy for your customers to find you; if your customers can’t find you then what is the point of being on social media at all? Oftentimes once you pick a profile name or custom URL you may not be able to change it so make sure you are choosing the right name.
If you have a generic business name (i.e. Tom’s Store) it may be taken and you should choose an alternate name but one that sticks to your brand (i.e. Tom’s Store in Atlanta). However, if you find your business name is taken and being used by an unauthorized account owner you may be able to reach out to the social network’s help center to have them look into the account and hopefully remove the unauthorized account.
Verify Your Account
Some social media networks (Facebook, Google+, Youtube, and Pinterest) also allow for businesses and public figures to verify their account. Search their settings and help library and follow their specific instructions to verify your account. Twitter and Instagram independently choose which public figures and brands to verify, and unfortunately do not allow users to request verification at this time.
Customize Your URL
Once you have chosen your profile name, take advantage of the sites that also allow URL customization. Twitter and Pinterest will automatically use your profile name, but if your profile name is long it may be cut off in which case you might want to think about customizing your URL with an abbreviation or shorter version of your profile name. Facebook, Youtube and Google+ will assign a string of numbers to your URL, which you can later change to match your business or profile name. Updating your URL can usually be done in account settings but you may need to check out the help library for further instructions. This will help when you want to share your Facebook link or list it in printed materials. (Check out our Facebook page here.)
Add Profile and Cover Photos
In addition to your profile name, your profile picture and cover photos help identify your brand. Whether you decide to use your logo or another picture, observe the network’s specific image dimensions for profile and cover photos, as each platform has different layouts. Try to avoid stretching or cropping your images to accommodate different layouts as it will look distorted and sloppy, and not reflective of your brand. You may want to use the same profile picture for each social media account but choose to feature different cover photos for each platform. If you end up using different photos across different platforms make sure they stay true to your brand so your customers will be able to easily identify your brand from those images.
Complete Your Profile
Additionally, you should completely fill out your profile’s about section on each account. This includes your website, bio, address, phone, email, hours, category, mission, description, etc. Do not leave any fields blank. This might also be a good opportunity to revisit and refresh your website and/or original business plan for mission statement, vision and description. It’s also wise to include links to your other social media accounts in your account profiles.
Furthermore, Facebook also has various apps for you to set up if you choose to use them. A few that we recommend are an email acquisition app, which connects with your Constant Contact or other email service; and a Reviews app that allows users to write reviews for your business.
Establish a Voice and Tone
Lastly, you’ll want to establish a voice and tone for your social media accounts. If you have other people with access to post on your behalf, make sure they are aware of your tone and style so you remain consistent. Will your tone be funny? Will you take on social and political topics? Your goal should be to come across as human but stay professional at the same time. Within those limits you can find room to be humorous or informative and more importantly, reflect your brand.
Creating a strong brand identity is critical to establishing your social media presence and isn’t that hard but many businesses fail to follow these simple steps. By carrying your brand identity through your different accounts you create and reinforce a consistent and memorable brand to your customers.
In our next blog we will help you conquer the big C – Content!
Is your business having trouble finding the perfect social media marketing strategy? Creative Blend Design will help you define a strategic plan that makes sense for your business. Please call us at (844) 223-8326 or click here to use our contact form.