In his book Tweet Naked, online marketing expert and Social Media Firm CEO Scott Levy provides the critical information entrepreneurs need to craft a social media strategy that will boost their brand and their business. In this edited excerpt, the author offers tips on keeping your brand consistent so people recognize it when they see it.
Your brand becomes visible by being shared, read and seen on social media, as well as on traditional media. From logos to slogans to photos to tweets, posts and advertising, your message must be consistent.
In an effort to create consistency, you'll want to write down your brand objectives and consider your reasons behind building a brand. You'll review the benefits and highlights of the products and/or services you offer, review what makes your business unique (which may tie into your corporate culture), and think about your motives for being in business.
You'll then add to your answers the final ingredient: Who are your target customers, and what do they want? This question can be answered largely by engaging with like-minded individuals on social media. For example, if you're planning to open a new brewery, you'll want to find out not only whether people want lighter beers but also healthier ingredients? Better packaging? Greener packaging? Locally brewed beers? Darker beers?
The more you learn, the easier it will be to create a brand that generates a following.
To build a consistent brand, you'll want to have:
- A slogan and/or tagline that's easy to remember and conveys your brand and/or your strength (what makes you different) in a single line.
- A logo that's easy to identify and visually depicts what your brand is all about.
- Images and/or videos that highlight your company culture and your products or services, as well as the people (or person) behind the logo. The images should be consistent. For example, a brand selling retro clothing might want to have a retro look in all of their photos, perhaps in black and white.
- A list of attributes so that whoever is promoting your brand for your business will feature the same characteristics in outgoing messages.
- A consistent voice and tone so that your brand is conveyed in the same manner: upbeat, heartfelt, homespun, sexy or even comical, depending on what you're trying to convey. Clearly Louie Anderson and Kendra Wilkerson are conveying different messages in their personal brands, and the voice of their postings or tweets will differ, as would those for Chuck E. Cheese and Oracle.
Color choices can also create very different images. The colors for a fast food place that caters to children will differ from that of a law firm that specializes in wills and estates. Look closely at choices of colors to determine what you believe they convey.
Brand integration means that all of the above need to be in sync. A funny, cheerful, kid-friendly logo with dreary colors and a very serious heartfelt message could be very confusing. Keep everything coordinated for brand consistency.
Before building a brand, you need to think about it carefully. You want to make sure you're going to present a clear, concise and consistent message. It's very difficult to switch gears midway through. People want to know what your brand is all about and who you are. If you confuse them with inconsistent or mixed messages, you'll lose them as followers, fans and, ultimately, as customers.
Scott Levy is the founder and CEO of Fuel Online, an online marketing agency that focuses on social media and SEO. He has been specializing in online marketing for more than 15 years and is a respected speaker, writer and consultant. Scott was nominated for a 2014 Shorty Award for "social media's best business influencer" as well as recognized as a 2014 Hubbies finalist for "Influencer of the Year". Scott is based in Nashville. Follow him on Twitter at @FuelOnline or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FuelInternetMarketing