Let’s start with the basics. The first thing your social media branding guidelines should spell out is all the profiles you currently own. Make sure you include every profile, not just your primary ones.For instance, Nike has several profiles on each platform. They’d want to list each one in their style guide.Another overlooked part of your social media style guide is naming conventions for your profiles. There will always be new platforms to join, so it’s helpful to set guidelines for how your usernames will be formatted.
Prepare for scenarios where your exact company name isn’t available. For instance, if your company’s name is Chipmunk, it’s likely that the username will be taken on every platform. So you should outline what your acceptable backups will be such as adding HQ on the end.
1. Grammar & Terminology
Grammar style guides aren’t just for your website. Your social media posts should follow certain grammatical standards as well. This goes beyond whether or not you use AP Style. It extends to any terminology you use in-house, when to use exclamation points and other things that help create consistency in your content.
You can be as detailed as you’d like here, depending on your brand’s preferences. If you already have a grammar handbook for your website or blog, you could carry over a lot of the same rules to your social media style guide.
2. Hashtag Usage
Not everyone uses hashtags the same way. Some people will cram as many into a Tweet as Twitter will allow. Others use them once in a blue moon. Keep things organized by outlining how people should use hashtags in your social media posts.
Your style guide should also include a list of all of your branded and campaign-specific hashtags. For Digital Marketing Services Check Vivid Digital
3. Visual Guidelines
Since most social networks are highly visual, your social media style guide should set parameters and standards for any images you share.
There are two major types of visuals to cover inside your guide:
A. Photos, graphics or videos shared within posts
B. Profile images and header graphics
If you’ve ever looked at a company’s Instagram feed and noticed that it seems themed or really well put together, it’s usually because it was planned out. For instance, take a look at Play-Doh. Their feed is colorful and vibrant, but the posts don’t clash against each other.Within your style guide, you can lay out:
A. Brand colors
B.Fonts for graphics
C. Acceptable color combinations, per network
D. Photos of your office and team members
With all of your design assets in one location, it’s easier for your team to create and share visuals that don’t look out of place with the rest of your feed. Another very convenient way to ensure the images your team shares align with your social media style guide is to use Sprout’s Image Asset Library. The asset library is a built-in feature of Sprout (for enterprise level users) that catalogs your brand’s inventory of visuals.
This is particularly helpful for companies with employee spread across several cities or countries. Rather than go through the hassle of storing your visual assets separately, team members can go straight to the asset library within Sprout and publish directly from there. It also cuts down on the time needed to get approval for visuals to share, since all the images have already been approved.
4. Brand Voice
Your social media voice is one of the top things that will distinguish your brand from other companies. Your voice should be consistent across all mediums whether it’s commercials, social media ads, Tweets or Instagram posts. For instance, if you’re funny and humorous on Facebook but all of your YouTube videos are serious and straight-laced, it sends mixed messages.We can’t tell you what your social media voice should be since it represents your brand. But it should be reflective of how you want your brand to be perceived. That might mean one or more of the following:
G. Cheerful and upbeat
I. Young and trendy
J.Deadpan or dry humor
In order to help find your social media voice, it might be helpful to look back at your past content. Whether it’s a blog post, ad copy or other messaging, pay attention to the tone and emotion conveyed. You can also look at what other brands are doing on social media. You don’t want to just copy another brand’s voice, but it could give you some inspiration.Once you’ve settled on your brand voice, write it down in your social media style guide. The key is to be as descriptive as possible. Don’t simply write
Instead, you might have something along the lines of this:
Voice: Clean and playful humor. Responses should be upbeat, optimistic and positive. Avoid being sarcastic or mocking customers, followers or other brands.
Another helpful tip is to include screenshots with examples of posts from your brand or others that showcase the tone you want to establish. Whoever is reading your social media style guide should be able to pick up on your brand’s voice with ease.
5. Post Formatting
Some brands like to use a specific format for sharing links, status updates or other types of posts. For instance, Tweets might follow a format of headline, link and hashtag. Or your brand might choose to list all your hashtags within the first comment of an Instagram post rather than the caption.Pringles takes a very quick and brief approach with their Tweets, keeping most of them to just a handful of words.All of these small nuances make it easier for your team to share content and streamlines your process.
Another thing to consider is attribution for your content. Some brands send every Tweet and Facebook post as the company. Others prefer to leave a signature of some kind to let people know who they’re chatting with.For instance, the social support team at Delta Airlines initials Tweets that are responses to customers. This makes it easier to identify who responded to each Tweet.
6. Handling Competitor Interactions
How does your brand treat interactions with competitors on social media? Is there friendly competition or do you ignore them altogether? If your company is in a competitive industry, there’s a chance that your audience will mention them to you or they might even engage directly with your brand.
Use your social media style guide to detail how your company handles these situations. A lot of it will have to do with your brand voice. If you have a witty or sarcastic voice, you might respond like Wendy’s.On the other hand, if your brand is a little less savage, you might respond more like Pizza Hut.Again, it’s all about creating consistency and establishing your company’s personality and social media style.
7. Responding to Questions
When customers ask questions, share your content or engage with you, how should your team respond? Formalizing this in a style guide will keep everyone on the same page and create cohesion.
It’s similar to if you were to call your cable company with a question about your bill. You’d probably be upset and confused if two different reps gave you completely different responses. The same thing applies to social media. Even if there are different people managing your profiles, they’re all posting and responding as your brand. So their responses need to be consistent. SEO Companies in London visit here
8. Legal Concerns
The last thing your company needs is to run into legal issues over a Tweet or Facebook post. If you’re in an industry with regulations and restrictions, add important information on staying compliant in your social media style guide. For instance, many government agencies have rules for what they can and cannot publish on social.
There are also some general legal considerations to keep in mind like copyright violations or even regramming someone else’s image without permission. It’s always better to be safe and cover all your bases.
9. Customer Personas
All of your customers aren’t the same, so the way you talk to each shouldn’t be either. Identify different customer personas that your brand encounters or is targeting. For each persona, you could include:
A. What type of messaging your team should use
B. Specific photos that target them
C. Colors that are more likely to draw them in
Understanding the contextual needs of each persona will give you the ability to create more targeted campaigns and better resonate with each segment you’re trying to reach.
10. Social Media Style Guide Examples
Now that you have an idea of what to include in your social media style guide, the next question is what does it look like? No two style guides look the same, or are even published the same way. Some companies might have a printed manual while others choose to let theirs live online.
Since these guides can contain somewhat sensitive information, they’re rarely made public. However, we’ve compiled a list of some examples we’ve found to give you some ideas.
01. NYU Social Media Style Guide –
The NYU social media style guide touches on many of the elements we’ve mentioned such as voice, grammar/styling, hashtags and more.
02. Society of Women Engineers Social Media Style Guide –
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has several members, as well as people that manage their social media profiles. So their social media style guide is a way to let members and others know how to use social effectively as well as how to handle their profiles.
03. Richland Community College Social Media Style Guide –
Richland Community College has a fairly in-depth social media style guide that covers everything from what type of tone to use in posts to how to their crisis management procedures.
04. Instagram Social Media Style Guide –
While it’s not a traditional social media style guide, Instagram created a site for brands interested in mentioning the company on social media and other outlets. If your brand is widely referenced in media or by journalists, creating something similar could be a good idea to make sure you’re being mentioned in your best light.