social media branding

How to brand yourself on social media (in 4 simple steps)

If you’re launching a business or project, personal or professional, there’s no avoiding your social media branding.

Social media is the place to be as a brand. Pretty much everyone (including your mom, your grandma and your great aunt Joanie) spends half of their waking hours checking their various social media platforms. And since the golden rule of marketing is “get people where they already are,” social media provides you with an A+ opportunity to connect with your audience, deliver your messaging and convert that audience into customers.

But you can’t just throw up a few social media profiles and expect business to start rolling in (if only it were that easy!). Just like you need a solid branding strategy for your business, if you want to be a social media success story, you need to brand yourself there, too.

Social media branding allows you to break through the clutter (and there’s a lot) so you’ll be easily recognizable to your target audience and ultimately drive more business, leads and sales.

But how, exactly, do you do that?

1. Keep your branding consistent across platforms

The most important element of social media branding? Consistency, consistency, consistency.

If your website has one brand style (specific colors, fonts, and product images), but your Facebook has a completely different look and feel… Which is totally different from your Twitter… And your Instagram and Pinterest… And your Snapchat, too…

Well, you get the idea.

Inconsistent branding is confusing. Your audience expects to experience your brand in the same way, no matter where they’re experiencing it. Having an all-over-the-place brand on social media hurts your overall branding, your brand recognition, your engagement… And in the end, it hurts your sales.

When you’re creating your social media profiles, your brand DNA needs to be infused on each one. Got a brand color palette? Perfect. Use those colors on your profile. Have a hero image that people associate with your brand? Great. Use it as a Facebook or Twitter cover photo. Got a logo? Sweet (and if not, it’s time to get one designed!). Use it as your profile picture so you’re instantly recognizable to your audience.

Jamba Juice website

Jamba Juice’s website.

Just take a look at Jamba Juice. The company (which, if you don’t know, serves delicious fruit-based juices and smoothies at malls and stand-alone shops) does an awesome job of carrying their branding from their website to their social media profiles.

Notice how Jamba Juice uses their branding elements—including their color palette (which is inspired by the tropical fruits in their beverages), brand images and fonts—on both Facebook and Twitter.

Jamba also uses their logo as a profile picture, which ensures that even if audience members miss the glaring similarities between their website and their social media profiles, there’s no mistaking which brand they’re interacting with.

If you think only large brands need to keep their branding consistent across social media platforms, take a look at Blue Star Donuts, an artisanal donut shop based in Portland, Oregon.

Blue Star Donuts website

Blue Star Donuts’ website.

Blue Star places a heavy focus on creating high-quality donuts using the best ingredients. In fact, their tagline is “Quality over Quantity.” That’s why it makes total sense that their social media branding emphasizes food.

That branding has done them well. Blue Star has a rabid social media following—over 17K Facebook fans—that frequently causes lines out the door at their Portland locations. In fact, they’ve done so well building their brand, they’ve recently expanded to Los Angeles, CA.

Moral of the story? If you want to successfully brand yourself on social media, keep it consistent.

2. Create share-worthy content

A big part of success in social media is spreading the word about your brand to new people. And the way to do that? Create share-worthy content.

Content is the foundation of social media. In fact, there’s a whole industry built around it: content marketing.

When it comes to social media branding, you want to establish yourself as a go-to resource for awesome content in whatever your industry you’re in.

Your content is the foundation of your social media success, and it must inspire people to click, engage and share. Visualmodo has put together a nice article explaining different ways to integrate your content marketing into your social media.

Dunkin’ Donuts saw an opportunity to engage their audience and build their brand on social media when Facebook launched their Live feature. On Valentine’s Day 2016, Dunkin’ broadcast their first live-stream on Facebook Live, where they took their audience behind the scenes at their test kitchen and gave them an inside peek at the construction of a ginormous wedding cake made of donuts. This holiday-themed video was a huge success for Dunkin’—over 46,000 live viewers.

Seeing the opportunity to become the go-to donut brand for fun, seasonal video content, Dunkin’ has continued to create tons of viral social media videos that their audience goes crazy for. Just check out their recent Dancing Pumpkin Man, which currently has over 2.3 million views and almost 62,000 shares.

Let’s also take a look at a lesser-known (but no less successful) brand. The Lighter Side of Real Estate is a (you guessed it) real estate website targeted towards agents that offers helpful resources, articles, and marketing services. Their entire brand is built around content—especially funny content.

They’ve done an incredible job of creating content like hilarious memes and GIFs that get their audience clicking that “Share” button. They keep their design simple (a lot of times, they just slap their logo on a meme and call it a day), but it works.

Just take a look at this recent post that made me LOL.

The Lighter Side of Real Estate Facebook post

Meow! Via The Lighter Side of Real Estate

And the result of all this shareworthy content? Their audience exploded. The Lighter Side of Real Estate currently has 339.6K Facebook fans. That’s pretty impressive for a niche site targeted towards real estate professionals!

The key to successful, recognizable social media branding is to create content that will inspire your audience to share and engage. Figure out what content is going to connect best with your particular audience, publish it on the regular and watch those shares come pouring in.

Whether you decide to focus on producing video content or memes, GIFs or written posts, you need to make sure you’re branding yourself as a company who creates killer content.

3. Add ah-mazing images

Speaking of content, you can’t talk about social media branding without talking about images. In fact, some platforms—like Instagram and Pinterest—are based entirely around pictures.

Images boost engagement like crazy. Facebook posts with images get 2.3x more engagement, and tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without. If your images aren’t a priority in your social media branding strategy, you’re going to fall flat.

When creating brand imagery for social media, be true to your self, grab your audience’s attention and look fantastic.

Now, keep in mind, your images don’t have to just be based around your product, your service or yourself (if you’re a personal brand). As long as you’re on-brand, they’re a go.

Just look at Lorna Jane, a popular women’s athletic brand. Instead of building their social media images strictly around their products (I mean, how many sports bra photos can a person look at?!), they wisely decided to focus their images on the kind of fun, active lifestyle Lorna Jane inspires.

Here are a few more big brands killin’ the game on Instagram:

eos Instagram profile

eos Instagram profile. Via @eosproducts

CycleHouseLA Instagram profile

CycleHouseLA’s Instagram profile. Via @CycleHouseLA

A great example of a smaller brand (also in the fitness space!) doing awesome things with branding their social media images is CycleHouseLA. This Los Angeles-based spin studio has a healthy social media following they engage by sharing inspirational images meant to get people off the couch and onto their workout… preferably at their nearest CycleHouse studio.

Gary Vaynerchuk quote

No one does social media inspiration than marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk. Via @garyvee

Their mix of real-life students, branded inspirational quotes, and shots of their studio and workout classes make for an inspiring mix that sets them apart from the million other cycling studios in LA.

Are you trying to inspire your audience? Try creating quote images to get them inspired (just make sure you add your logo and brand color palette so you also inspire some brand recognition in the process).

Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cone

I mean, could you say no to that cone? Yea, we didn’t think so. Via @saltandstraw

Are you trying to get them to drool over your brand’s newest food product? Then take some drool-worthy product shots that make your treats look even more to-die-for than they already are.

Bottom line: social media is an image-heavy place, and so in order to be successful in social media branding, you’ll need killer images.

Figure out what killer images means to your brand, and then deliver on image-centric platforms.

4. Be social

JetBlue customer response tweet

Nice Oregon Trail reference, JetBlue. Via @JetBlue

Our last tip is this: it’s called social media for a reason. If you want to find success with social media branding, you need to actually be social. When one of your followers tweets at you, tweet back! When someone leaves a question on your Facebook page, answer it! If someone comments on your Instagram post, comment right back!

Social media is a conversation, so it needs to go both ways. Build your brand on social media around being social and engaging with your fans. The more you engage, the more engaged they’ll be!

Get out there and get branding

Well folks, it’s official, you know have everything you need to win the social media branding game. So what are you waiting for?

Want more branding tips? Here’s how to create a great brand identity for your business.

Need custom branding?

Explore your custom branding options and bring your brand to life today!

Author: Deanna deBara