It’s almost 2017 and social media should be more than just an afterthought for brands. What it does and how it behaves on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is tightly enmeshed with everything else a brand does. Considering how important and present social media is these days, it’s vital that the brand experience is as seamless as possible.
Mess up on social media and there will be consequences. And if people can’t even find you on any of the main networks, how should they stay connected to your brand? Social media is an integral part of your brand and should be treated as such.
Social is still king
In 2016, more and more brands have turned to social media — and not just big brands, but independent businesses as well. More than 40% of SMB in the U.S. rely on social media to create awareness for their brand. And so should you!
Social media offers you a chance to stay in touch with your target groups and cultivate relationships with them. It allows for a two-way communication where users can reach out to you instead of only the other way round. Social media is also a vital part of your sales funnel.
Furthermore, most social networks are highly trusted domains. That makes it easy for your profiles to be found when someone is googling for your business. For some search queries, your social media profiles might even be ranked higher than your actual website.
And that’s why it’s important your social media accounts are well-tended to and in line with your branding. You wouldn’t want the first thing someone sees from your brand to be a neglected Twitter account with your company’s old logo because you forgot to swap it out after a recent rebrand.
Social media and your website — a two-way street
You’ll want to convert website users to social media followers. After all, we don’t generally navigate to a brand’s website all the time to keep up with them. That’s what feed readers, newsletters and social media are for.
Here are a few ways you can integrate your social media accounts with your overall branding:
Don’t be an egg
Choose your profile photos on your social media accounts in line with your branding. This can either be your logo or an iconic part of your logo. More image and less text seem to generally work well, as long as the image is clearly recognisable. In any case: never ever leave the generic Twitter egg as your avatar!
You could also ask your creative department to come up with an iconic image that can be used specifically for avatars, which are most often square.
Keep in mind that when people see your posts on Twitter, your profile photo will be the first thing they’re aware of.
Make good use of your cover photo
The second thing anyone navigating to a profile will notice is the big picture on top. Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter (or LinkedIn for that matter), you have the option to add a custom cover photo to your account. It’s another way to let your brand shine.
Choose a cover image that supports your branding. You can show off your brand with your slogan or a mouthwatering photo of your newest product, you can point to something current, e.g. the dates for your next exhibition, or show off your newest app feature.
Of course, images draw attention to themselves. But if well placed and not used in abundance, copy is absolutely allowed in cover photos, especially if it serves a purpose.
Stick to your language & style
Social media might be more casual than most other business interactions, but that doesn’t mean you should throw your brand’s voice overboard. In order to make social media a natural extension of everything else you do, implement your style guide on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well.
An important part of coherent branding is that you immediately recognise a brand in the way it looks, feels and speaks. Just take a look at innocent. The smoothie company has a very distinct style that it uses in all its communications, from its website and newsletter to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The way innocent speaks makes it recognisable and authentic.
Make sure your social media team is thoroughly briefed on any branding, style or voice guides your company is using!
Make the connection between static and social
You have various ways to fully integrate your social media accounts with your website and vice versa. Always link from your social media accounts to your website or your most important landing page. Complete the circle by leading users from your website to your social media accounts as well.
By integrating social media on your website, you can turn those who drop by on your website into long-term connections for your brand, simply by guiding them to your social media accounts, where they can follow you and stay in touch.
Social Branding: The idea is to make it ridiculously easy for fans to interact with your brand...
Include sharing, liking and social follow buttons on your website for more engagement. Buttons work well on desktop browsers, though not so much on mobile. If your website has a login function, you should also offer a social login.
The idea is to make it ridiculously easy for fans to interact with your brand and to like and share your content elsewhere.
Create a social hub on your website
By showing your posts and tweets on your website, you can also reach a different audience — those who just happen to be browsing your website and don’t yet follow you on social media. Embedding social media is an easy way to create a brand hub that provides current content right there on your website.
Embedding your own social media accounts on your website is also a way to “verify” your own accounts and avoid people being led to impostor accounts. It puts both you and your customers at ease.
With apps like Walls.io, you can show all of your social media posts in one place. No longer do you have to find a way to place your Facebook feed and your Twitter feed and your Instagram feed on your website. Instead of clogging up your site visually and slowing it down with multiple plugins, you simply add all your accounts to your Walls.io social wall and embed the widget on your website.
All your posts will be shown neatly in one place. The styling features let you tailor the wall to the look of your website. And by using moderation features you can further tweak which posts you want your social wall to show.
With a Walls.io Premium account, you can also create different social walls for different landing pages on your website e.g. if you have multiple office branches or products. Simply filter each wall accordingly with keywords.
Put UGC on your website
A social wall doesn’t just serve as a brand hub. Its “original” and popular use is as a place to collect all contributions in a hashtag campaign, including user-generated content.
People enjoy interacting with brands. So when you run a UGC campaign, create a campaign wall and incorporate it into your website as a way for fans to play an active role. Ideally, embed your campaign wall on a landing page designed and created specially for the campaign.
Share your wisdom
Is your brand ready for 2017? What have you done to keep your social media profiles in line with your general branding? If you have any questions about how you can use Walls.io to make your social branding seamless, let us know!