It’s 2016. We, as human beings living in the century of mobile-first, direct ads, Facebook power-house advertising, have been taught to see consistent branding and remember it wherever we go, and whatever and whoever we interact with. When we see a white ‘f’ inside that small rounded-cornered blue square, we think Facebook. Every time you see a drawing or emoji of a ghost, you think Snapchat; and equally, when you see the new Instagram logo, you cry. But that’s not the point.
The point is, realising that there has never been a more important time to utilise social media for your business branding, and with that, comes great responsibility. The time of throwing ‘somewhat relatable’ imagery onto your business social media profile pictures and cover photo’s is long over. You might think why? The service or product I provide has nothing to do with how my business is perceived visually online? If you do think that, you are simply factually incorrect, my friend. Branding is key, and consistency is the cherry on top.
If you go to the store, and see a smashed to bits tin of beans, sticky all over and with the label half ripped off, you’re gonna drop it, pick up a different one, and most likely complain to the staff. The beans inside are perfectly fine, but what you see first, is how you judge it. The same principle applies to when your business is seen online. What’s the point of professional business cards? Just write your number and email on a napkin you have left over from lunch, and give that out to attract people into doing business with you.
By now, you hopefully see the point, so let me give you some dos and don’ts to really make you think about how your business is seen on social.
1. Set your branding straight
I see far too many SME’s and even bigger businesses using 2 or 3 different types of logo across their website, print, social accounts etc. Stick to one. Just one. One that will be engraved in people’s memories, so that next time they see it, they’re triggered by the fact that it’s somewhat familiar to them.
2. Make use of cover photos
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn all give you the chance to make use of a cover photo. Take advantage of it. It is the main section of the page that your visitors will judge you by, even more so than the logo.
That being said, make sure you understand HOW to use it effectively. It’s no good slapping any old image on there just to show any kind of visual. All 4 of those platforms have their own standards and sizes for cover photos. (Click here to see guide). Following the same structure, keep it consistent by using the same graphic. Your designer should provide you with all common sizes for all platforms, as it is industry standard.
Lastly, make sure you use your cover photo wisely. Put the most important information on it. Website, links to your other social media, this is where the first couple of seconds of attention is.
3. Don’t use images you don’t have a licence for
This is something I see, and get sent by clients, way too often. A copyright law is something that can ruin your business reputation very quickly. There are far better resources to source some relatable imagery than simply stealing it. If you don’t have the budget for a photography session of your products or services, using a decent phone camera is sometimes enough. Besides, your designer will be able to give you a selection of images that are free to use and don’t need an attribution, if it does come to that.
The conclusion is this. Please believe when people tell you that social media is the #1 asset for customer acquisition in the 21st century, and as much as we like to think that people don’t ‘judge a book by its cover’, we do. It’s not all about operations, or the service you provide. The visuals you use to entice your potentials is as vital as your product itself.