Social media offers a fun way to engage with your target audience. But you can’t forget who you are, both in your tone and in how you brand your profiles or pages.
Start by reviewing your brand archetype to capture the right voice and tone on your social media pages. Take on that persona in everything you say and do online, including responding to comments, reviews, and feedback.
And once you’ve internalized that persona well, you’re ready to take on these four essential social media branding opportunities.
1. Use a High-quality Logo as the Profile Image
You want consumers to know at a glance that your posts come from your brand. They should not need to enlarge the profile photo or read the profile name to know who they are interacting with.
One challenge with social media profile photos is that every platform requires different sizes. And while it’s not a big deal for your personal profile if you can’t see all the elements in the photo, it is a big deal if part of your logo is not recognizable.
You should have various versions of your logo that include just the icon if the logo would be too small to read the wordmark. Social media is the perfect use case for using just the icon logo version.
Although each social platform uses different sizes for profile pictures, thankfully all of them are square dimensions. Here’s a look at profile photos across the most popular social sites.
· Instagram: 320 x 320
· Facebook: 170 x 170
· Twitter: 400 x 400
· Instagram: 400 x 400
If your logo is a rectangle, make sure you add some blank space above and below it to meet the requirements for a square logo. Otherwise, the social platform will likely crop it, cutting off the sides. You may have to do a few trials and errors to get it just right.
2. Design a Meaningful Cover Photo
While your profile photo helps identify you quickly, the cover photo on your profile helps tell customers more about you or introduce a campaign or initiative you’re focused on this quarter. While you probably won’t change up your profile photo often, you can adjust your cover photo for the season or a specific use case.
And much like the profile photo, you’ll need to customize your cover photo for each social platform. Dimensions for these graphics are not even close to standardized so get ready for custom graphics here.
· Facebook: 851 x 315
· Twitter: 1500 x 500
· LinkedIn: 1128 x 191
Does anyone know the top executives at the major social media sites? It sure would be nice to standardize these dimensions to reduce the burden on brand managers looking to get the most out of their social media interactions.
When it comes to LinkedIn, don’t forget that your employees’ profiles are a great branding opportunity. We recently designed 67 versions of a LinkedIn cover photo for our client whose work spanned many service areas. These variations enabled the company to allow each employee to select a cover photo that matched their service area.
Offering options to your employees provides you some control over your corporate branding while also giving team members the freedom to work on their personal branding as well.
3. Follow Brand Guidelines on Image Styles
You can use stock photography or photos that team members snap during community service, but don’t forget to follow all brand guidelines for image styles.
Brand guidelines should outline the types of images and image styles that you use in your branding. You can edit stock photography to meet your branding requirements.
Some aspects of image branding you might consider include:
· Subject matter
· Color saturation
· Use of logo
· Use of branded frames or borders in case followers share the information
4. Think About How Your Posts Look Together
When a new visitor lands on your social profiles and begins to scroll, will they remember what brand they are scrolling through without looking at the profile photo? Or could the content on your profile be from just about any brand in your industry?
Consider how well everything comes together. And if you aggregate content from other sources, find ways to use branded images to make it look more like you while still linking out to the content.
Should You Create Different Sized Images for Various Social Channels?
Customizing your content based on the social media channel can be beneficial. For example, your content on Instagram will be more focused on visuals while your Twitter content is more about short, snappy messages that fit your brand persona.
But when you do post content across all channels, should you create different image sizes and styles to fit the needs of every social channel? In an ideal world where time wasn’t an issue, yes. However, most teams don’t have the time to do this.
Instead, look to create square images that are 1200 x 1200 to make them look great on every profile. If you’re going to have two different sizes for images, it’s better to focus on an image that’s sized for posting to the feed and another that’s optimized for stories.
Stories are surprisingly uniform across all platforms at 1080 x 1920. So no matter which social channels you use, you’ll be prepared for anything by creating one square image and an image optimized for stories. And since you’ll be customizing your profile image and cover photo already, you’ll have enough custom work to do for branding your social media that you don’t want to worry about custom sizes for every post.
Want to take advantage of Instagram Reels? You’ll want to create videos that are a 9:16 aspect ratio or the same dimensions as your story images.
Social media branding is essential but start with the most visual, important aspects to create a firm foundation for your interactions. While there is always room for improvement, balance the need for branding with limited time and staffing availability to create variations of every graphic or image.
At Design Positive, we help brands make new friends by branding social media channels to get the most out of every customer interaction while doing it all in an access-to-all approach.