Setting up a new business on social networks takes much more than filling in a form. Lots of the most important aspects are easily overlooked when creating a new business profile or page. Maintaining consistency across the web with your brand’s voice and visual elements is critical for brand recognition. You’ll also need to pay attention to who will run your accounts, and how they’ll do so.
Even if you’ve already got your company’s social media accounts set up, check these seven important points in case you’ve overlooked any.
When your business is being represented on networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as your own website, you need to ensure it’s recognizable everywhere. Too much variety in the look and feel of your profile or the voice behind your account can cause confusion to your audience.
A List Apart is a great example of this.
By using a strong visual style on both its Facebook Page and official website, the brand becomes immediately recognizable.
Though each social network demands a slightly different approach to get the best results, if the core themes and style of each account is recognizable, your customers will more easily find and connect with you.
2. Visual branding
As the most obviously recognizable element for your audience, start by keeping your visual elements as consistent as possible. Use the same color scheme on each profile and a matching avatar or profile picture. On the networks that allow a header image, keep this in-line with your visual branding choices as well.
An easy way to start this process is to work from your company website. Use the colors and logos you’ve chosen to create appropriate visual elements for social networks that either match or show a similar style to your site.
Smashing Magazine uses a signature red-and-white ’s’ logo across the web to remind customers of the brand.
Even though the logo is slightly customized for each platform, it’s still recognizable as coming from the same company.
When you decide what kind of story or themes you want to portray as a company, keep this consistent. Matching the voice and general themes of your updates will help your audience identify your brand more easily in different places around the web.
Your customers should be able to get a feel for your company culture and what you stand for by looking at your social media posts. Starting with a core message or theme is a good way to keep a common thread running throughout your updates.
For Zappos, having the company’s CEO Tony Hsieh front its Twitter account gives a clear voice to the updates.
Tony frequently posts links to articles and videos about happiness, giving a strong theme to the company’s Twitter presence.
4. Multiple users
If you’re planning on having multiple users posting updates and responding to customers, it’s important to have a plan in place to ensure this works smoothly. Particularly when responding to customer requests or questions. You want to ensure customers receive a timely response from your team, but you don’t want to flood them with multiple answers at once, either.
Some team-based social management tools even offer the opportunity to approve every update before it’s sent, which can help maintain consistency. This may be a good idea when you first get started or if you bring a new employee on board.
The team at Buffer share a company Twitter account, so each reply includes the name of the team member behind it.
This is a quick, but efficient way of using team updates to keep on top of your account while still connecting with customers on a 1-to–1 basis.
Another good way to ensure your team is all on the same page is to set clear guidelines for social media use. Outline what you’re trying to achieve with your social media accounts and what message is important for your business to get across. Don’t forget to mention what’s not appropriate ahead of time to save yourself headaches down the track.
When your team members know what the aim of your company’s social media accounts is and what’s expected of them, they’ll be better equipped to make decisions. This will help with maintaining consistency and high quality updates as well.
If you plan on having final approval of everything that gets sent out, or putting someone else in charge of approval, it’s important that your team understand this. Even if you’re going it alone to begin with, guidelines can be really useful when you get off track or are unsure how to approach a particular situation.
Social Media Governance has published a useful collection of social media policies that you can reference. There are currently 219 policies in the list, organized by company name.
If you’re using a social dashboard like Hootsuite or Sprout Social mentioned above, you’ll have scheduling features built-in. If not, you can sign up for Buffer which sends scheduled posts at pre-set times.
Inside Buffer, you can choose a list of times that you’d like to post updates each day. You can then fill up your account with updates that are ready to go, and the app will push them out for you when each set time rolls around.
With something like Hootsuite you have more control in the moment, because you can set a specific posting time when you write the update. You may even like to try both options, as Hootsuite and Buffer both offer free accounts.
Scheduling can be really useful if you have customers spread across different time zones or if you tend to set aside particular times during the day to post updates and share content. The Buffer method allows you to easily add several updates at once, but have them posted at spaced intervals so as not to overwhelm your followers all at once.
Buffer’s Founder and CEO Joel Gascoigne uses his own Buffer account to space out his Twitter updates.
This ensures a regular stream of interesting links that are spaced out during the day, even if he writes his updates all at once.
7. Understand the ‘why’
When you are putting time and money into your company’s social media presence, you’ll want to see a return. A measurable return, at that. Unfortunately, you can’t use any measurements unless you know what you’re looking for.
The reasons why you’re using social media and what you hope to get out of it are critical points to explore. Whether all the work is being done by you, or you’ve got a double-figure team looking after your accounts, there has to be a clear purpose behind your efforts. Are you trying to find more customers, more sales leads? Are you providing more opportunities for customers to contact you? Are you simply improving your brand’s recognition?
The reason behind your social media plan will not only inform your actions, but how you measure your results as well. If you’re in it for sales leads, more followers won’t matter so much as someone who is aiming for wider brand recognition. Explore these questions and use them to write your guidelines.
Have I missed anything? Leave a comment and let me know what you think is important to consider when setting up your company’s social media accounts.