Ask yourself this question: Are you more likely to follow and engage with a company on social media that has inconsistent posting, a messy feed and boring photos or an account that has visually appealing content, a reliable posting schedule and consistent branding? I know my answer.
First impressions are absolutely crucial in the world of social media. Obtaining new followers, and eventual customers, is going to ultimately depend on what the individual thinks when they do their very first glance at your profile.
You want to have the least amount of barriers possible when looking to create engagement on your social media accounts. This article is going to walk you through all aspects of creating a cohesive and consistent brand image, while also nailing that first impression.
Let’s Talk About Branding In General
Branding is the baseline for all marketing and PR. According to Entrepreneur, “Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”
Branding includes everything from consistent logos, your businesses’ colors, types of written language, the content you produce, the images you put on social media and everything in between.
Defining brand guidelines is typically the very first step you should take when looking to refine your marketing strategy. You can start by figuring out which colors you want to use across all your content and putting the vector numbers into a document for easy access. Next, figure out the font(s) you want used on your website and social media graphics. After that, establish the categories of posts you want to do on a regular basis. This could be tips and tricks, real-life photos of people enjoyed your product or stock images that identify with your business.
After you get all your information together and put it into a document to distribute throughout your organization to each employee, the next step is making sure your branding is cohesive across all platforms. This includes all your social media accounts, e-newsletters, organizational documents, product packaging, website and anything that your brand touches. Your branding is your identity and if you stray from that, your audience will become confused.
Design A Visually Appealing Feed For Instagram
If you’re going to market your business on Instagram, it’s important to make sure that your feed is visually appealing. This goes back to social media first impressions, just like mentioned above.
According to Hootsuite, “Your Instagram aesthetic is the first thing potential customers will notice when they check out your brand’s profile. The colors, layout, tone, and overall feeling of your Instagram page contribute to an aesthetic that can either gain you a new follower — or send them running.”
Using your brand guidelines, you should set up your scheduled Instagram posts in a way that visually fits together. In the image below, you can see how the Seattle Kraken account has clearly utilized their brand identity to design an aesthetically pleasing feed. It’s easy to tell what their brand colors are and the type of message they’re trying to convey. They used high-quality images and non text-heavy graphics to fill in the rest. If you visit their website, you’ll find that they made sure it was consistent with their social media pages.
The Seattle Kraken (@seattlekraken) utilize clear and consistent branding on Instagram to draw in their audience.
Another great example can be seen on the left where DryBar, a hairstyling brand, uses consistent images and brand colors throughout each photo on their feed. By just glancing at their feed, it’s easy to identify what they’re offering (hair products/services), that their brand colors are bright yellow, baby blue and light pink and that they put out tutorial-based content to help their followers with product education.
But not only are these accounts consistent, they’re also fun and easy to look at. Having a visually-appealing Instagram page is one of the most important things in this day and age. This will set you above the competition and help you rack up those followers at the same time.
A great way to get started on planning out your Instagram feed is getting a bunch of content, whether that’s through conducting a photoshoot for your brand, utilizing Canva to create visually-appealing graphics or just figuring out what order your posts look the best in – there are many ways to create a visually appealing Instagram feed.
Dry Bar (@thedrybar) takes advantage of Instagram video and user-based content to connect with their followers while also remaining visually appealing and consistent.
Eliminate All Empty Fields On Each Social Media Platform
One of the most crucial first steps when creating any of your social media pages is to make sure you input all your information into the listed fields. You never want someone to be interested in learning more about your company or product, but not have access to the resources that they need. For example, on Facebook you should have your address, phone number, website, email and all other contact information readily available and easily accessible. On Instagram, you should have your account switched to a business account so you can include “contact” buttons.
After inputting all this information, you should also make sure to have the same profile picture across all social media platforms. This way you’re easily recognizable to new followers and can be identified quickly. The key is to make it as easy as possible for followers, and potential customers, to interact, follow and contact your business.
When creating your Facebook and Instagram pages, make sure to include all the important information.
Some other bonuses would include having a visually appealing cover image on Facebook and having a fun, concise bio to summarize your business.
Another great option for Instagram is to include “highlights” on your page. This allows you to create an even more consistent look through designing your highlight covers. This also gives you an opportunity to educate new followers about your brand through different categories such as, “new products,” “fan features” or a highlight dedicated to showcasing how to use your products.
On the left, you can see how the popular meal kit delivery service Hello Fresh uses their highlights to promote different aspects of their brand that might not be directly featured on their feed. They also use their brand color with fun symbols to differentiate each one. To learn more about creating Instagram highlights and covers, you can check out this article from Later.
HelloFresh (@hellofresh) makes sure to maintain their brand image even in things like their highlight covers
Make Your Content Consistent Across All Platforms, But Not Identical
Creating a consistent brand identity on each of your business’ social media accounts is extremely important, however that doesn’t mean posting the exact same content on each one. You want to create value in each of your social media pages, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or TikTok. There should be a unique offering on each page that keeps your audience engaged and interested in following you.
The look and vibe of your profiles should feel similar and easily transferable, but it’s important to tailor your content to the needs of each platform. For example, mentioned above, Instagram is primarily highly visual, photo-based content, so on your Instagram account, you should be highlighting the visual aspects of your brand and really focusing on your image. Whereas on Facebook and LinkedIn, you’re going to be focusing less on images and more on conversation-starting, educational content. TikTok should be used to interact with your customers in a fun and creative way through video content and be less promotional. Lastly, Twitter should be used to answer questions and post real-time updates.
Figuring out which social media platforms are the best for your business is going to depend on just that; your business and its audience. However, the overall message, feel and branding should be consistent.
Finally, Create A Consistent, Reliable Posting Schedule
The last step for a cohesive brand image is to create a reliable posting schedule. This is extremely important in maintaining consistency so your followers know what to expect. You never want to leave your audience hanging when it comes to content. If they click on your page and see you only post a couple times a month on random days, their interest level may decrease significantly. Dependability is absolutely essential.
When creating your social media schedule, make sure to take into account who your audience is and what times are they likely to be scrolling through their feed
The first step in creating your social media posting schedule is to figure out what times and days of the week your customers/audience will be the most active. This can be assessed through industry research and also, testing out different times/days and comparing the engagement analytics on each of those categories. For more information on the best times to post on social media, click this article by Sendible.
Put It All Together
The main theme throughout all of this social media advice is to remain consistent and reliable, while also giving off a great first impression, making it so new page visitors can’t resist clicking that “follow” button. The key to maintaining followers and receiving new engagement on social media is making it easy and fun to interact with your brand. This is how you eventually will turn your followers into customers.