Social media is a huge part of any online marketing plan, but it can be difficult to get it right. We have all seen companies making embarrassing faux pas on social media platforms, and nobody is immune to these mistakes. However, if you have a well thought out social media style guide in place, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of a social media fail!
With a little time and effort, it is possible to create an effective social media style guide for everyone to use as part of the larger online marketing plan for your business. Let’s take a look at how to get started.
What is a Social Media Style Guide?
A Social Media Style Guide is an important part of your online marketing plan. It is a document that contains a detailed description of how your brand wants to be perceived on social media. This includes guidance on the type of visuals to be used, the tone and voice, the content and even how to respond to messages. The idea is that even if you have ten different people working on your social media accounts, it should appear as a single voice.
Having a social media style guide is important because it helps build a personality for your brand and can help prevent avoidable errors that might cause embarrassment for your business.
Find Your Voice
Perhaps the most important element of any social media style guide is establishing your voice. When creating an online marketing plan, you should already have an idea of how you want your brand to be perceived. This voice should be constant across all platforms, from social media and blog content through to advertising. It will reflect what you stand for and it is what sets you apart from other brands. Is your voice funny, formal, casual, friendly or even sarcastic? All that matters is that it is yours!
Approved Grammar & Terminology
If you already have an online marketing plan, then you may already have a style guide in place for written content which outlines grammar rules that should be followed. Do you have a preference over the use of exclamation points? How do you capitalize headlines? You may also want to outline the specific terminology you use.
Formatting Your Social Media Content
Some brands prefer to stick to the same format for their social media content. For example, the way you share links, which link shortener to use, where hashtags will be located and even how to sign off when replying to a comment. These are all subtle little nuances that make your brand unique. An example of formatting style could be ‘Headline – Shortened Link – Hashtag.’
Speaking of hashtags – that is another important thing to consider when creating the social media style guide you are going to use in your online marketing plan. Think about what you want your official hashtags to be, how many hashtags you will use per post and where to place them.
Visual Style Guide
Visual content is more engaging than plain text and has become a huge part of any online marketing plan. Your social media style guide should lay out the guidelines for visual content. Think about aspects such as creating images in a standard size, colors to use, styles, fonts used and even logo placement.
How to Respond to Customers
Social media is increasingly used by customers to ask questions about products and services. That means your style guide should also outline how to answer customers direct questions. All staff needs to be on the same page when dealing with clients, so be sure to create a step by step guide on how to respond.
What To Post – Or Not
Another important aspect of your online marketing plan you should include in your social media style guide is a summary of what content you should (or should not) be sharing. Think about relevant topics that can be discussed and create a list of things to avoid. For example, you may want to put a ban on any political or religious content and of course links to your competitors!
To Your Best Online!
Ingrid Griffin, Internet Marketing Consultant. Blue Dress® Marketing, an Internet Marketing Company headquartered in Knoxville, TN. Internet Marketing Developed, Implemented and Managed to Full Circle! Organic Internet Search Engine Guru. Turn Key Internet Optimization Programs Placing You Everywhere and Anywhere You Need to Be Online®