Are you using social media marketing to extend your brand’s reach?
If so, you’re probably using more than one platform. Twitter and Facebook are the most prominent social networks, but others like Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram are very valuable channels as well. When you’re managing multiple profiles, it’s vital to present a cohesive and consistent brand message across all of them. If not, you run the risk of creating brand confusion and disseminating mixed messages to your audience.
Your brand defines you and communicates your brand’s promise. Its unique personality shapes the way you build relationships with your audience. Your brand consists of tangible elements that combine to create your identity — what you communicate to the world about how you can address your customers’ needs and solve their problems. It is communicated via your logo, color palette, marketing materials — all outward-facing messaging that comprise its identity. If all of these elements aren’t consistent and cohesive across all of your social media channels, it can erode brand loyalty and hurt your bottom line.
: a condition in which people or things are closely united
: the act or state of sticking together tightly
: union between similar plant parts or organs
: molecular attraction by which the particles of a body are united throughout the mass
Consumers have become marketers
Consumers have always been the arbiters of what your brand means, which doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s in your corporate branding guide. Marketing power has historically been solely in the hands of businesses that used their discretion to push out messaging in hopes of getting traction in the marketplace. Today’s social-media-driven world has put this power in the hands of consumers, who are now empowered to forge and mold brand messaging based on their own experiences — both good and bad.
A key concept of social media marketing is telling your authentic brand story in a unique way that reflects your thought leadership, authenticity, and value proposition, and inviting your audience — overtly or via their own experiences with you — to share these messages with their peers and those in their social circles. The only way to solidify who you are and what you have to offer is to create a cohesive social media brand that is dependable, persistent, and steady across every one of your social networks.
5 Reasons Brand Cohesion is Critical in Social Media Marketing
1. It demonstrates professionalism
Implementing a consistent brand shows that you care about your your company, your public image, and your customers.
2. It heightens brand recall
People don’t usually make buying decisions immediately. As I mentioned in a previous post, today’s decision-making process is circular in nature. People form impressions about brands via many touch points and when they decide to make a purchase, those saved impressions become critical in the buying process:
3. It removes brand confusion
Competition is relentless. Chances are good that there are many players in your niche that are all fiercely competing for your audience’s attention — and dollars. If you can’t address your buyers’ concerns and offer them the value they’re looking for, they won’t hesitate to quickly move on to one of your competitors who can. Eliminating confusion through consistent branding — both overt and subliminal — effectively contrasts you versus your adversaries and improves the likelihood that a consumer will buy from you.
4. It separates you from your competitors
You need to stand out from the crowd. Highlighting what you have that your competitors don’t by delivering consistent content and messaging — through imagery, tone, voice, etc. — will help instill your identity in the minds of your customers.
5. It reinforces your brand personality
Customers are more likely to purchase from a brand if its personality is similar to their own. Your brand’s personality is comprised of a set of human characteristics to which consumers can relate. It includes everything you communicate about your brand, from profile photos and cover images to tweets to Facebook posts. Consumers should be able to immediately determine what you’re all about, no matter which platform they’re using.
5 Steps to Creating a Cohesive Social Media Brand
1. Solidify your visual brand identity
Your brand’s visual identity should be consistent across all of your social media marketing platforms. Steady, dependable use of your logo, colors, fonts, etc., helps delineate you in today’s interruptive marketplace and increases customer recognition.
Every message you push out about your brand is impactful. Whether it’s 140 characters on Twitter or a compelling photo on Instagram, each bit of information that you share contributes to your perception in the marketplace. Make sure that it’s very consistent.
3. Plan what and when to post
Is your audience interested in text, videos, links, images, or a combination? Will you curate other content or create your own? When is your audience online? Take all of these factors into consideration and formulate a plan that ensures maximum brand visibility.
4. Create shareable content
Make what you share likeable and inspiring to elicit social media sharing. Shareable, sticky content also enables you to reach beyond your core audience and develop new relationships that engender brand evangelism, growth, and sales.
5. Maintain a consistent brand tone across all of your social media networks
Keep each of your social media channels similar in tone and appearance. Sure, you’ll have to tweak a bit based on each platform’s demographics and culture — but a dependable brand language that is “in character” will drive brand recognition, interaction, and sales.