What happens next?
A social media style guide is key to ensure a steady brand voice and message across all social networks. It's a benchmark for images, posts, language, tone, and much more.
Your style guide's introduction should clarify its main goal - put together a united brand image on social media through clear rules. Describe how the guide makes your message uniform no matter who is running your accounts, equipping employees to offer input fast while properly portraying your brand. Do remind that we will tweak the guide as your social engagement plan changes.
Ensure your introduction touches upon these critical points:
Keep your intro crisp and centered on the style guide's purpose and main elements. The rest of the details will be explained in the later parts. An impactful intro prepares the ground for maintaining a uniform brand image in the dynamic social media world.
Consistent branding is easy with a social media style guide. No matter who handles your profiles, it keeps your message and visuals matched up.
Next, a style guide makes sure your brand feels the same across different platforms. It helps your followers feel familiar and secure. They feel rooted when they see the same message style and look in your posts. Yet without well set guidelines, your identity could get mixed up or sideways.
A helpful aspect, the guide can make new employees feel prepared from the start by equipping them to create branded content quick. No need for them to guess how they should represent you. They can look at detailed rules to express your tone, voice, words, grammar rules, and more the right way.
Lastly, the guide helps teams work together. Your product team can check descriptions, HR guides employer branding, PR helps with tough communication issues, and so on. With everyone involved in your guide, the end result is genuine, brand-true content.
A well-planned social media style guide helps new employees make branded content fast and sure. There's no guessing on how to represent your company correctly. They make use of clear guidelines setting out specifics like:
A strong style guide keeps your brand safe while letting your employees get creative. It's like having a map for creativity: setting the limits but allowing for unique ideas within. Role clarity in social media rules boosts productivity.
An effective social media style guide leaves no room for mistakes. Without rules, employees may accidentally go off-brand in their posts.
For instance, a casual tone may work for Instagram but not for LinkedIn. Instagram might be best for filtered photos, but real and raw visuals might suit TikTok better. Operating without guides leads to mixed messages.
Your guide offers a trusty blueprint for stability by setting rules around:
You can make the guide stronger by updating it as new things happen. It's also good to review it often to keep up as things change.
Doing work to set clear rules now will save you from mistakes later. Mistakes the public can see could wreck the trust you've built. Once you've set clear rules, you can still be creative but in a set way.
A well-made social media guidebook helps build trust and loyalty from your audience. This happens because your brand stays the same over time. Folks start to recognize brands that look the same every time, on all platforms. They use the same voice, look, terms, and style. This makes people confident in your brand.
On the other hand, if you're not consistent it can damage the trust. If your Instagram looks great but your TikTok is a mess, people might think you're not reliable. Or if your jokes on Twitter are different than on Facebook, your brand might seem fake.
With a style guide, you can keep your writing tone steady and on target. The guide works like a compass, helping anyone who creates social content stay true to their main identity. It collects rules on image identity, voice boundary, the use of grammar and language, compliance issues, and so on to maintain an even flow.
As your brand grows, keep updating your guide. It helps keep your brand's subtle shift intentional and minimizes confusion for your audience. Remember, people trust what's consistent. Show them a reliable brand presence by making a timeless social media style guide.
Your social media style guide's first part should list all your active social media accounts. Each handle, primary or secondary, should be included across every platform where you've set up shop.
Keep a record of your username on all networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, Spotify, Snapchat, Reddit, etc. Update this list as you join new platforms.
Also, determine a naming rules for any new social media accounts you'll start in the future. Many companies use their brand name variations. If you find your business name is already being used on a particular platform, devise a backup plan. Adding a location tag like "CompanyNameLA" or a descriptor like "CompanyHQ" are common strategies.
Keeping account names the same across platforms aids followers in finding you. Make sure to set rules before you start new branded accounts for smooth operations.
Update this part of your guide as your social media strategy grows. Have a reliable source to keep track of your media channels, which saves time. Ensure it's easily accessible so your marketing team knows what accounts you own.
Nailing down your unique brand voice is key for bonding with your audience and standing out. In your style guide, define your voice with words and phrases that epitomize your brand - are you humorous, sincere, or more serious? Share actual posts that showcase your aimed voice, bringing those words to life.
Different social platforms have unique cultures. So, be clear about how language formality varies for each platform. For example, a casual tone works on TikTok, while LinkedIn favors professional language. But don't alter too much; your followers should still spot your brand's essence.
When wrapping up voice policies, ask your content team for advice on tricky issues—like the use of sarcasm or how outspoken your brand can be on hot topics? Revise this section yearly so it can adapt as your brand mature.
Consistency, that's the key. By keeping a familiar tone, employees can add their creative splash but still stay within the set boundaries. Develop a unique yet adaptable tone, but remember, firm recognition is key.
There should be rules for spelling, punctuation, shortcuts, and other things that would help maintain a united message. State which dictionary you are following and make it accessible for staff.
Identify local dialects or phrases to use or avoid for your readers. Offer a reason why certain words are capitalised and any business lingo, shortcuts, or initialisms that might confuse for the sake of clarity. Also, being inclusive begins with our words—setting up people-first language and explaining to foster understanding.
Social media can be casual, but alert staff to the dangers of being too relaxed with language, as it might risk the professional image depending on the setting. For example, shortcuts or contractions may be okay for tweets but not for a refined LinkedIn post.
Ensure basic grammar rules are covered, but allow for some discretion when faced with uncertain situations. As language changes, a yearly cycle to review guidelines is needed to adapt to new slang or evolving sensitivities. Respecting everyone trumps stringent grammatical rules.
Remember, writing with impact resonates more with audiences than rigid rules. Encourage clean, congruous communication through useful guidelines, but give leeway to reach readers on their terms. Prioritising impactful content naturally drives the grammar that follows.
Keeping to post style rules lets your team share content fast and keep a steady style.
Set up rules for using emojis - can they be in captions, or should you use few? Set rules for each platform, since TikTok likes posts with lots of emojis but LinkedIn prefers just a few.
Share your ideas for where calls-to-action should go too. Do you put links in Instagram captions or the first comment? What about LinkedIn? Record CTA rules for each network.
Talk about who should author posts as well – should workers' sign responses with something like their initials?
Think about writing down the types of posts you want, if needed. For example, tell writers to start Twitter posts with headlines that catch the eye before giving a link. Standard routines make brainstorming easier.
Also, write down small things that make followers' experiences better, like how often to use hashtags or how to tag other profiles. Each small detail makes your style guide more helpful.
Though full guidelines may seem tight at first, having steady style rules lets workers write posts fast. Updating this section now and then allows you to change best practices as platforms add new features. Think of style tips not as limiting creativity but as helping innovation within rules.
By setting clear rules for hashtags, you can arrange branded and campaign-specific tags to best highlight your content.
Identify specific hashtags for your brand to stimulate community contributions. For example, the popular fitness haven Orangetheory employs #Orangetheory on social media; this tag has been utilized over 800,000 times by its community.
Develop varied guidelines per platform, following each network's vibe. Single-word hashtags are prevalent on Twitter, while Instagram favors two-to-three-word tags. Also, keep in mind the number of hashtags used, as more can facilitate discovery on TikTok, while just one or two is ample on LinkedIn.
Log campaign-specific tags, including start and end dates. This record will inspire future campaigns. Create rules about follower interactions with your hashtags - whether to like, comment, share, and more.
Decide on a format for hashtags - lowercase, uppercase, or camel case. Stick to this format for ease of use.
Hashtag use continually shifts, but maintaining solid practices for branded and campaign tags ensures consistent, unified efforts across platforms. Preserve these decisions in your style guide to set a consistent tone amongst different channels.
Social media channels love visual content, so set standards for images, videos, graphics, etc. Address general brand protocols first, then modify according to each platform's aesthetic.
Start by checking visual elements such as logos, brand colors, fonts and such outlined in your brand style guide. Decide if changes need to be made for social media, like square logo adaptations. Choose any standard effects or filters, whether #nofilter or specific edits.
Next, address platform-specific needs. On Instagram, will you use glossy campaign photos or real, behind-the-scenes shots? TikTok favors authentic, simple video, but YouTube likes high-quality production. Pinpoint sources for vital assets, like approved stock imagery.
Think about cross-channel strategies too, like using the same camera emoji icons on Instagram to link user-generated content shared from there to Twitter or Facebook. Keeping a unified visual identity helps recognition.
Keep this advice in a central, accessible asset library for quick reference. Regularly check policies as new features arrive; Stories weren't always a thing. Setting multimedia standards up front stops branded content from seeming unconnected.
If your brand is in a competitive field, set policies for dealing with mentions of competitors on social media. Your strategy depends on if you ignore them outright or engage in occasional friendly exchanges.
For silent brands, just instruct employees to avoid competitor content. For those that tactically duel, set boundaries that fit your voice - is easygoing roasting okay or does any jesting need approval? Establish firm rules, like no false statements or spilling company secrets.
Managers need clear rules for when audience links to competitors appear on your profiles. Do the posts get likes or responses?
Your response can reveal your brand's character. A fun, open brand might lightly mock competitors and steer clear of underhanded tricks. Others might choose to ignore such posts. You should write these guidelines so your audience knows what to anticipate.
While rival-focused antics can lead to viral buzz, being steady builds trust. Curb wild tendencies with clear rules. Teach these rules to new team members so interactions with competitors stay true to your brand. This can bring a human touch to your online image while steering clear of legal or PR problems.
Offering solid support is key for brands on social media. Use your style manual to outline response times and public interaction norms. This ensures uniformity, whether one employee or many are engaging.
Begin by defining your ideal response window - will you try to reply to new messages within an hour or a day? You might think about storing canned replies in a resources file as ready-made answers to familiar questions, modified to fit your brand's tone.
For example, Sprout lets teams keep pre-vetted responses on file, with fill-in-the-blank spaces to customize each reply swiftly. A few all-purpose responses help avoid redundant typing while maintaining a human connection.
When your support team aids customers using distinct markers such as initials, include this rule in your handbook. Also, add if they should reply privately or publicly to acknowledge the customer's concern.
Highlight how to cope when the number of requests surpasses the team's bearing capacity. Even simple objectives like "address courteously as feasible" assists workers during high-pressured situations.
Canned replies may streamline processes, but building relationships is the goal of social support. Along with service techniques, stress the importance of building deeper connections.
Clear social media policies enable using employee networks to enhance your brand's reach. Give specifics about what's acceptable and what's not, in line with your company's ethos.
For personal profiles, share common social media manners regarding privacy, honesty, judgment, and decorum. Reinforce the idea that their posts reflect on the organization. Suggest a disclaimer when expressing personal views.
Guide them on how to interact with your official profiles - can they discuss your offerings? Can they publish company news? What kind of acknowledgements are essential? Illustrate how to correctly reference and credit your organization in their posts.
Consider incorporating policies for internal social promotion schemes. If such a program exists, explain the best ways to share official posts, like the ideal timing and tagging methods. Put forth the norms for responding to remarks on their re-posted content as well.
Focus on respect and responsibility in your policy-making. Encourage decisions based on values rather than stringent rules. Adapt policies to keep up with changing situations.
An adaptable guide for social media interaction reduces risk and allows for genuine engagement opportunities.
For companies bound by regulations or legal contracts, a guide for social media use ensures compliance. The guide should outline industry protocols to keep your brand safe and avoid complications.
If there are restrictions on content, provide guidelines for compliance. For instance, financial advisors can't publicize specific investment advice, and healthcare organizations need to keep patient information confidential. Explain how to generate social content safely.
Discuss potential legal pitfalls, such as copyright infringement or reposting without permission. Outline how to correctly credit external content.
If relevant, create policies on AI usage covering data privacy, security, ethics, intellectual property, and more. Warn teams about the risks of generating branded content with third-party tools.
Navigating rules may seem restricting, but a proactive guide gives employees safe participation. By framing compliance as a protective measure and regularly updating the guide, you build an agile foundation for brand protection.