What does your brand stand for? That’s the story you tell every day with your social media posts and your consumer interactions. If you’re doing it right, then those who visit your brand’s social media properties will come away with a clear understanding of what your company values, what it does, and how it benefits the end user.
If, on the other hand, your social messaging is muddled or inconsistent — well, there’s no telling what consumers will think about your company. What’s most likely is that they won’t think much of anything about your company at all. Consistent messaging is what leads to brand recall, and without a compelling brand narrative, there’s little to make your business truly memorable.
The question is, in an era where business leaders are advised to make sure their company is active on every social network from Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram, how can you ensure truly consistent brand messaging?
1. Ensure current information. Before you do anything else, take a moment to review all of your company’s social properties. Look at the profile information you’ve submitted. Do you have the same logo on each social channel? Are your store location, phone number and hours of operation current? The first step toward social media consistency is making sure that your most basic profile information is accurate and up-to-date, across the board.
2. Develop a voice for your brand. Intuitive though this may seem, it is important to think through your brand’s voice — and to get down some synopsis of that voice on paper. Is your brand edgy? Reliable? Family-friendly? Focused on social issues? Devoted to value? Whatever the identity of your company, set it out in some kind of Mission Statement and use that to inform your social marketing.
3. Use an editorial calendar. Are you running a social media contest? Sharing a new company press release? Promoting your latest blog entry? You’ll want to make sure that you’re posting these things to all of your social platforms, though not necessarily all at the exact same moment. Instead, use an editorial calendar to ensure that important announcements or promotions are listed on each social channel, over the span of a few days or a week.
4. Use hashtags — and show your followers how to use them, too. Hashtags are important precisely because they are like cross-platform passports — the best way to make your social marketing campaign span Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest, all of which now support hashtag use. You need to come up with a unique hashtag for your brand, but also instruct your users on how to use it. A well-placed call to action can serve as an invitation for users to submit their own content and to participate in the dialogue about your brand using the hashtag you have chosen.
5. Embrace messiness. Finally, remember that maintaining 100 percent consistency across all social channels — using the very same verbiage, talking about the exact same things with the exact same frequency across each channel — is next to impossible. What is important is really to have a sense of cohesion; to make sure you never post anything that violates the spirit of your Brand Voice or your Mission Statement (see tip #1). If you can keep everything on-message, that’s really what matters most.
A coherent social media presentation will help ensure that users know exactly what your brand is all about.