When judging a brand’s credibility, the first thing you tend to notice is their brand aesthetic and tone – the visual identity which is responsible for first impressions. This is where consistency is key. A cohesive, consistent, uniform aesthetic shows that a brand knows who they are and what they stand for. They don’t come across as flighty or disorganised by chopping and changing their look and style but, by curating a cohesive brand, are competent and confident in their strengths and what they have to offer.
So, how do you curate consistency on social media in the fluid, fast-paced world where trends come and go quicker than you can say ‘cold brew’? If you’re an established company, you should already have a clear brand palette, brand fonts, and a set of company values. You might even have a social media style guide! It’s time to marry these together with your social media strategy so your client experience is the same whether it’s happening in your boardroom, LinkedIn page or Instagram grid. Follow these tips for building a brand through social media:
1. Keep Profile Pictures Consistent
Your profile images on social media should all be variations of your company logo to maintain maximum clarity and credibility for users. Profile pictures are typically small and the last thing you want is a prospective client squinting at a pixelated square, trying to work out what it is. Having a clear, correctly-sized image will not only look good but also make you quicker to find from no more than a glance. Starbucks does this well:
2. Use Brand Colours in Your Content
It can be difficult to get social media images right but there are some classic mistakes to avoid and some reliable techniques to incorporate into your use of social media. Consider your brand palette and then accent your posts with these colours. McDonald’s is a good example of this in practice – their iconic brand colours of red and yellow can be seen in one form or another throughout their feeds. You don’t even need to see the profile picture or company name to know who this account belongs to. Some easy ways to weave your brand colours into your posts for cohesive branding include:
- Coloured backdrops (such as a feature wall in your office)
- Coloured graphics (easily made on Canva)
- Coloured accessories (such as cushions, pens, etc)
3. Don’t Post on Instagram Without Thinking
Because of the way Instagram posts are displayed, to maintain a consistent and professional aesthetic, there are several factors to consider before posting a picture on Instagram. Unlike Twitter or Facebook where photos can be broken up by text posts, your images are displayed in a grid, and so it’s worth considering:
- Is the lighting good?
- Does it fit with the story I’m telling?
- Would my followers know this was my brand?
For example, when looking at the feeds below (belonging to two major international food and drink companies), which looks more intentional and cohesive?
If you’re keen to share something which doesn’t quite fit with your Instagram aesthetic, pop it on Stories! They only last 24 hours and serve as a great additional form of content which increases engagement.
4. Consider What Content Goes on Each Platform
You might find that some platforms are more relaxed than others. Continuing with our example of McDonald’s, their Facebook is a lot laxer when it comes to the kind of content they post. It drives engagement but isn’t as meticulous as Instagram because of the nature of the platform. Your platforms shouldn’t be duplicating all the same content all the time – different people use different platforms because they want to see different content. Some things are appropriate to share across the board while others should be reserved for the most suitable platform. The goal of consistency is that even if the content is different, the aesthetic and tone is so concretely yours that it doesn’t matter.
5. Put Time into Smooth Transitions
A consistent aesthetic needn’t be restrictive – companies grow and change with time so you needn’t stay stuck in a rut. If you do want to change your look, temporarily or permanently, do so with a smooth transition. Starbucks seamlessly changed their aesthetic to reflect Pride Month without a harsh disruption to their style:
Curating a cohesive brand doesn’t have to be difficult:
- Block out time – bulk scheduling is more efficient
- Plan ahead – use software like Hootsuite to schedule
- Get creative – think outside the box with GIFs and video
- Have a strategy in place – be intentional about which images you post and when
- Invest in good images – hire a photographer for a day or use a good camera