HOW CAN SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES HELP YOUR BRAND?
We all know the importance of brand guidelines. They help us keep our brands looking and feeling fresh on every platform from our social media channels to our websites to our products. They remind us how to keep our logos looking consistent, our fonts the right size and our colour scheme in order when we’re promoting our business.
But how can you do the same for social media? It’s important to acknowledge that all social media platforms are different and will have different image dimensions, posting criteria, audiences and user bases, so how do you help your teams to keep your posting consistent?
Social media guidelines are still a relevant new implementation for many businesses and brands, but they can be a life saver when it comes to elevating your marketing game and motivating your marketers.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES
When it comes to planning your social media guidelines, it’s important to establish exactly which social media platforms you’ll be using and how. Working out the purpose of your social media strategy can help you plan out how to deliver it through your guidelines document. This section can also include your social values, goals and policies.
Then, to flesh out the guidelines, start by including the essential information about your social media profiles i.e. usernames, handles, titles and links to accounts. Map out how often you plan to post on each social media account and the type of content you plan to share i.e. video content, humour, articles, product posts, services, etc... These sections can be paired with tips on the right tone of voice to use on each social media, image dimensions, video dimensions, link shortening requirements and length of posts. You can even mention smaller details like which emojis your marketers should use, the preferred spelling of certain words and any phrases you feel are inappropriate for the platform. Hashtags, in particular, are great to include in your social media guidelines as you can create a bank of them for your marketers to use on each post - both saving time and creating efficiency in the posting process.
Including mock-up posts is a good way to help point your marketers in the right direction, as they can learn from the ‘perfect’ post to align the rest of their content. It’s also useful to include some elements from the brand guidelines, such as imagery recommendations, visual identity tips and colour schemes to ensure that everything feels connected and cohesive.
Finally, a good set of social media guidelines should include some script variations on how to interact with users, some key tone indicators such as ‘informal’, ‘funny’, ‘professional’, etc… as well as accounts to refer to for inspiration.
HOW MARKETERS CAN USE SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES
To a marketing manager or executive, social media guidelines will act as the guidebook to the business. These guidelines will help them create content plans, marketing campaigns, social graphics and gifs, plan out hashtags and captions and tags, and build up an effective strategy that will align with your brand.
Whether the social media guidelines are used as a reference and resourced for seasoned marketers to flick through or presented to new team members as part of a welcome package, the further your guidelines circulate, the better your business marketing will be.
Depending on how your brand uses social media, your guidelines might even be used as a referral script for customer service questions, enquiries and complaints - helping all of your team to stay consistent in their messaging. In a PR crisis, this is going to be essential to ensure that everyone shares the same tone of voice, and response style and has the same goal from each conversation.
In general, however, the core purpose of social media guidelines is to help your team create one united voice that best represents the brand and the business online and in informal spaces like social media. Every single post should sound like they come from one person, from your brand, and should feel cohesive in everything they promote, promise, display or share.
Social media guidelines are a great asset to your marketing team and can really help your marketing efforts online. From maintaining a strong visual identity across every social media channel to keeping new employees in the know about your brand tone of voice, this document can be the bible of your department - and change the way you use social media for good.
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