As someone who works in marketing & publicity full-time, I’ve seen the “deer-in-headlights” look some people get when they hear branding. Better yet, when they realize it’s more than just your website, but needing to spend time creating your brand across social media. Especially with social media being the main way many of us now market ourselves.
One thing that drives me crazy is not having consistency across your social media platforms. I’ve seen so many accounts that will have a different handle for every account, and something completely different for their website.
How would anyone be able to find you?
Obviously, this is different for those who may run many different brands, or have different facets of their small businesses. That I understand. But I’m talking about those that may run one business. It’s time to get your online brand consistent and make it easier for your ideal client/reader/etc. be able to find you. Here are some tips that may help.
Disclaimer – I’m only focusing on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for social media platforms.
Your website name, URL and social media handles should match
I always think about this in terms of, “How easy am I to find on social media?” If you have frequent visitors to your website, it’s worth keeping your social media handles close to identical as you can. Obviously, that can’t always happen, especially when a handle has already been taken. In this case, variation works, as long as it’s still close to your brand name.
For example, if your website is fashionblogger.com, but your social media handles are ILoveSports, there will be a disconnect and people will have a hard time connecting the two, and wonder if it’s the same person.
Here are my two brands:
Keeping your social media handles, website name, and website URL identical, or close to identical, will help readers to find you and keep up with you. It’s a lot easier to remember one handle than it is four or five.
Keep your logo and color scheme the same across all platforms
Some bloggers don’t have a logo, and that’s completely fine. If you don’t have a logo, and simply have your blog header, use that as your “logo”. It’s easy to turn it into a cover photo for the rest of your social media. Your color scheme can simply be the colors that you use on your website or blog header.
If you use several colors (we will say more than 3), and hopefully you don’t, stick to one or two. Having your logo or header throughout your social media will create a strong presence and one with a cohesive feel.
Offer content that is consistent with your brand
If you’re a fashion blogger, and your blog is heavily focused on fashion, don’t stray and write about your favorite sports team recent loss to their rival. Unless of course, it has a fashion twist.
Think about how you’re marketing your brand and what your brand has to offer. People are coming to you for a reason, and if you stray from that, it might drive people away.
I don’t have a true “theme” for my blog, but I often write about blogging & social media, books and mental health. If I were to write about sports, despite loving them, it might seem like a departure from normal pieces.
It’s okay to have variations of the same content on your platforms
When you share a new blog post, don’t feel like you need to post one message and upload it everywhere. Tailor that message depending on where you’re posting it. Here is where something like a social media management tool might worth looking in too.
Use a short description on Facebook and always make sure to remove the link once it has loaded and shown up underneath your content. There is nothing messier than having the two links.
Short & sweet on Twitter (despite the 240 characters) and limit yourself to no more than three hashtags. I know it sounds fun to post 5 or more, but it just starts looking spammy. Always include the link, and attach the image from the post so it shows up in the feeds.
On Instagram, post an image relative to your post, even if it’s the image but without the post text, and a bit more about why you wrote the post or the inspiration behind it. Include a couple of hashtags in the post, but add the remainders in a comment underneath.
All are examples of having the same content be pushed out, but keeping your messaging slightly different for your various audiences.
Don’t be afraid to focus on one social media platform more than another
There. I said it.
If you like Instagram more than the other platforms, focus your branding efforts there. If you prefer Facebook, go with that one. I always recommend having the big three (Facebook, IG, and Twitter), but for some managing all three, and sometimes more than three, can be overwhelming.
However, if you’re going to focus on one platform more than another make sure you do it REALLY well. Plan out your content. Make sure it’s cohesive and has an authentic feel.
Don’t completely neglect the other platforms though.
For my photography business, I prefer Instagram. I spend most of my time there, sharing images from my sessions and building a community. I still use Facebook, posting a sneak peek from a session and blog posts, but I spend most of my time on Instagram.
Whereas for my blog, I prefer Twitter. I still post to my Instagram, but it’s my personal IG so I’m not necessarily posting images for a blog audience, and Facebook, really just to get my posts out there, but I devote most of my blogging time to Twitter to build that audience.
All in all, brand consistency is important. For most of us, whether it’s a blog, a side-hustle, or our main business, our goal is to drive traffic and create an audience of those who regularly read what we have to say, purchase something from us, or any other reason someone might be visiting a small biz website. Make it easy for them, and keep your look & feel the same, along with your handles.
While you might not see an uptick in visitors, likes, and sales, you’ll be taking a step in the right direction but creating a cohesive online brand.