Social media is an immensely powerful tool. It allows people and business from all over the world to connect with one anther intimately and instantaneously.
It’s also an extremely visible platform. Much like the Miranda Warning, anything you say can and will be used against you in the consumer marketplace.
With that being said, it’s important that every business establishes a set of social media guidelines and invests in adequate training and education for any employee who has the ability to post information to a public account.
It may seem like overkill, but you’ll be thankful when it saves your brand from public humiliation or backlash. (Your PR team will be especially gracious.)
Before you can develop social media guidelines, you need to ensure you have an understanding of the right and wrong ways to use this powerful tool when it comes to branding.
That’s why, for your convenience, we’re going to highlight a few of the top do’s and don’ts of social media branding.
Five Do’s of Social Media Branding
1. Be Consistent and Regular
One of the most popular questions brands have is, “How often should we post on social media?” While there’s no clear answer, the key is to be consistent. You want to post enough that you stay on top of your customers’ minds, but not so much that you’re annoying and repetitive.
According to research aggregated by eClincher, the appropriate frequency for each of the major social media networks is as follows:
- Facebook: one to two times per day during the week and once per day on the weekend.
- Twitter: eight to 12 times per day, but largely depends on audience location
- Instagram: seven posts per week ideally only once per day
The rules are different depending on the network. Keep an eye on what others are doing and always err on the side of caution.
2. Pay Attention to Timing
Another thing you must do is pay attention to timing. Depending on when you post, the levels of engagement you enjoy will be different. There’s a lot of different in-depth research on this topic (too much to mention here) but know there are very specific timeframes that work better than others. This is one of the best guides on the topic and will help you get started.
3. Let Your Personality Shine Through
Social media is the antithesis of calculated press releases. The beauty of networks like Facebook and Twitter is that they allow brands to shed the corporate layer that separates them from the marketplace and directly mingle with customers.
In order to make the most of social media as a branding tool, you have to use it genuinely. Get rid of the corporate jargon and let your personality shine through. This is a chance to humanize your brand.
Robin Hercia runs AWMYL design studio in Los Angeles. As a studio head and design leader she insists that it is important to approach socializing your brand while being mindful to keep its identity intact. “It is necessary to create a set of rules to follow so that while engaging with your customers in a salon style fashion the identity remains consistent and you don’t risk diluting or confusing that persona. Things like colors, types of images, and fonts should all be limited in order to nurture strong brand recognition.”
Related Article: 6 Worst Personal Branding Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them
4. Give More Than You Take
Social media is a two-way street. Just like any relationship, if you want there to be a healthy connection, you must give more than you take. Make sure you’re using social media as more than a mouthpiece for advertisements and clichés.
Perhaps the best look at how powerful social media can be when you give more than you take can be found in the airline industry. Many of today’s biggest airlines now use social media as an extension of their customer service department to assist weary travelers who are plagued by things like flight delays and lost luggage. That’s putting social media to good use!
5. Maximize Your Profile/Bio
Each social network you have a profile on regardless of whether it’s Facebook or Pinterest has a bio section where you can input pertinent details about your brand. There’s typically room for a picture, short description, location, and a couple other relevant facts. Make sure you’re maximizing this space.
Your social media bio is often the first gateway new customers have to your brand. They’ll see something you post, click on your profile, and then look to see what your company is all about.
By maximizing this real estate, you can drive conversions and leads to your website.
Five Don’ts of Social Media Branding
1. Use Every Social Network
The list of social media networks is ever growing. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat, Periscope, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and dozens of other sites. If you’re trying to build a presence on each of these, you’re going to fail miserably. There simply isn’t enough time or energy to go around. Stick to three or four networks that your target demographic use and work on carving out a presence.
2. Talk About Hot Button Issues
Somewhere along the way, businesses have forgotten their roles. Businesses sell products and services to customers they shouldn’t be pushing agendas that having nothing to do with their business. For example, what good does it do a fast food chain to share content about police violence in the country? Or why would it be necessary for a small startup to endorse a particular candidate for public office? Avoid hot button issues. They’re much riskier than they are beneficial to your brand.
3. Go Overboard with Automation
There are tons of social media automation tools on the internet. Many of them are great and resourceful. However, you have to be careful with how you use them. Automation is wonderful for certain tasks but can ultimately water down your brand messaging. Avoid going overboard with social media automation and make sure you’re injecting personality into everything you do. Savvy social users can sniff out automated posts from a mile away.
4. Ignore Comments and Questions
When you develop social media profiles for your brand, you’re automatically opening yourself up to customers. That’s part of the deal. If you’re going to post content and interact with customers, you can’t ignore them. As previously mentioned, social media is a two-way street and you must be willing to engage your followers in meaningful ways. Letting questions go unanswered is embarrassing and, quite frankly, shows that you don’t care very much about your followers.
5. Point Fingers or Pick Fights
In case you don’t know from personal experience, there’s no value in picking fights or pointing fingers on social media. While you can choose to do whatever you want on your personal social media profiles, there’s absolutely no situation in which it’s appropriate for a brand to go after customers. This is a lose-lose situation and always makes the business look like the bad guy.
Related Article: How to Approach Social Media Influencers
Social Media: Your Powerful Ally
Social media is powerful and visible but don’t let these facts scare you. Instead, let them motivate you to make platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram your biggest allies in branding.