As the name implies, a social media style guide is a set of recommendations for how your brand should appear and behave on various social media platforms.
It influences how you represent your brand on social media, affecting how customers view your company. In essence, it describes how consumers should see your brand and the type of image they ought to associate with it.
What is a social media style guide?
The vocabulary, syntax, tone, and personality of your brand on different social media channels are all described in a social media style guide. Therefore, the firm you follow on social media will likely have a style guide for all their postings if their posts are consistently identifiable.
This indicates that they adhere to a set of rules that reflect the tone and style of their brand. If you already have a brand guideline, using that as a starting point for your social media style guide would be ideal.
Why Do You Need a Social Media Style Guide?
The successful implementation of your social media strategy depends on having a social media style guide. It outlines how your content should appear and sound when you publish it, summarizing how you should represent your brand on social media.
Additionally, it guides how to interact with your audience, what brand voice you should uphold, and the appropriate terminology to utilize. For instance, the social media brand voice of Innocent Drinks is casual, straightforward, and so uncomplicated that it nearly comes out as naive. This property embodies the brand by emanating an air of innocence that matches the company’s name.
The ability to keep branding consistent across various social media channels is made possible by having a colonial media style guide, which will increase your trust.
Because of this, it is especially crucial for your multi-channel social media strategy. Thanks to this, your social media staff will have a clear grasp of the brand voice and image to employ across all platforms. As a result, even training new teams may quickly sense what is expected of them.
They can easily comprehend how you want the brand to be represented on social media if the rules are clearly implemented. This also leaves less room for error as everyone involved in your social media knows how to execute your strategy that aligns with your brand identity.
A social media style guide is also essential if you’re using freelancers or agencies to handle part of your creative and social media management chores.
It becomes a go-to resource for understanding your brand personality and image, even for talent not employed by your company, when all your branding rules are compiled into one practical handbook. Similarly, it supports your influencer marketing strategy by giving content creators a framework to work within while creating content for your campaign.
Create your social media style guide
Once you’ve done your research, you can start putting your guide together! This is where you consider and define the language, communications, and content for your social media platforms.
Social media accounts
List every social media account you have. You can keep track of all your accounts and usernames using this.
Not only should your postings be consistent, but your usernames should also be. This will make it simpler for users to find you across all platforms. Examine the possibility of using suffixes, such as @brand name, in the US.
If your company has many locations worldwide, suffixes like these can be helpful to users. It enables your company to target a specific market and encourages your followers to engage with the brand for things like customer support.
Define your content
Knowing your social media accounts can help you decide what kind of content to post on each one. For instance, employment advertisements might only be for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
However, behind-the-scenes content might be limited to Instagram. Or perhaps your posts on TikTok aren’t appropriate for Facebook or Twitter.
In your style guide, note the character restrictions for each platform. And even if a site doesn’t have a character limit, your social media style guide should include one. You might argue that your Facebook postings should not exceed two paragraphs and that your Instagram posts should not exceed one line and one or two emoticons.
It’s a good idea to write down all the social media picture sizes and how you want your images to look, for instance, using black backgrounds when publishing evergreen content and products or solely using bright brand colors as backgrounds for product photos for material regarding giveaways.
How do you describe your company’s brand? How do you address your employees? Write down a few key phrases or terms that best characterize your company and brand.
For instance, at 99designs, the company name is written with a lowercase “d” rather than 99Designs or 99 designs. Or it might be the phrase that best sums up your business; what is it? Where and when will it show up?
We must consider our communication style, how we refer to individuals, and who we include. For instance, use gender-neutral language instead of referring to a group of people as “boys.”
It is preferable to examine and establish how your language will be inclusive now rather than attempting to cram it in afterward.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation
Do you typically cite your sources with an Oxford comma? Which spelling do you prefer—American or British? You can maintain consistency by establishing it in your social media style guide.
It suffices to mention that you utilize American spelling in your social media style guide rather than writing out every preferred spelling.
The same holds for grammar and punctuation. Select a style manual like the Chicago Manual of Style or the Associated Press Stylebook. If something in the style guidelines doesn’t agree with your preferences or doesn’t fit your brand, tone, or voice, you may make edits or tweaks to your social media style guide.
Emoji usage is increasingly becoming more commonplace, with many brands routinely using them. They frequently serve as illustrations or punctuation and might help draw attention to your postings.
In this case, the meditation app Headspace frequently incorporates emojis into the subject of its Instagram postings. This accurately captures their welcoming approach. Make sure the emojis you select reflects your brand identity, just like you would with textual language.
Social media and hashtags work together seamlessly. They’re so good at helping users find your brand that they’re practically required. If you use the hashtag #veganchocolate with your goods, individuals looking for that hashtag can come upon your business and product!
It’s also a terrific approach to gather comments for a specific campaign or product so that people can easily access and locate more endorsements or postings about your company or product.
Additionally, you could benefit from any momentum a popular hashtag may have. But be careful; if they don’t fit your brand or product, don’t just use popular or trending hashtags. It will appear outdated and only drive customers away. Additionally, always double-check the hashtags you employ to advertise a campaign or your goods. You never honestly know what the hashtag is used for or by other people.
Using a social media style guide has advantages.
Your team may post material under a single identity by employing a style guide, ensuring that your brand identity and style are distinct from others. Your company can gain from this in several ways:
It creates alignment
Alignment in business refers to everyone being aware of and working toward the same purpose and objectives. By educating staff about the organization’s brand identity, a social media style guide may foster alignment. The strategy can outline the organization’s goals and how the social media team can support them.
It establishes cohesion between profiles.
Businesses frequently have many social media identities, probably one for each primary site, and it’s doubtful that a single person controls all of their accounts.
By directing the messaging that each of these profiles should promote, a social media style guide can unify all of these profiles. For instance, a business whose brand theme is inclusivity likely has that message listed in its style manual and encourages its social media team to use it in each post.
It prevents mishaps
Although social media is awash in popular terms, concepts and phrases that inspire widespread engagement, not all of these trends may suit your brand. Your social media team can use a style guide to decide whether following a trend will benefit or harm the company.
For instance, a food service business might suitably participate in a trending subject for national pie week because it would be consistent with its image. An athletic apparel company, however, may come under fire if it joins the craze since people might think that eating fatty foods like pie interferes with firm performance.
It helps acclimate new team members.
A style guide can be a helpful tool for new social media team members to grasp how to communicate the brand’s image and message.
A well-crafted style guide is a knowledge foundation that, by directing newcomers to the solutions to any issues they could have, can inspire confidence in them. The style guide can also be used to gauge how well new team members align with and adhere to style conventions.
The secret to attaining branding consistency on social media is a solid social media style guide, which will afterward aid in the creation of a distinctive brand identity.
Use the advice provided above to establish or enhance your brand’s social media style guide. You can now start assembling your official social media style guide! Remember that this is only an excellent location to get started, not the end.
As new information becomes available or some postings don’t do well, you may decide to modify your guide going forward. Alternatively, more social sites must be included. As decisions are made, continue to add to and edit your style guide.
And eventually, it’ll develop into a useful tool to add to your visual identity and brand, as well as the secret to maintaining consistency so that your audience remains interested in and devoted to your brand.
All the best to you!