#KeepingCRESocial by Sarah Malcolm: Lookbooks Aren't Just for Models... Advice For a Killer Social Style Guide
Looks may be superficial, but for business, it’s the first engagement someone will have with your brand. Marketing without cohesion screams disorganization, and that’s not a the company most services want to engage with. A social media style guide is the go-to source for your team to create profiles and content that enhances your brand message, whether it’s a Snapchat or a white paper. A social media style guide will:
Lay out the rules graphic designers, web development, community managers, and marketers must follow
Define what distinguishes your brand on social media
Create a unified face of the company no matter where the public engages with you
Please note a social media style guide is part of the marketing strategy, but it is not the same. A marketing strategy should contain more details about the nuts and bolts of publishing, like content types, frequency, platforms, and measurable metrics.
With that defined, how do you create a winning style guide?
#1. Check with brokerage marketing team
Are you a commercial real estate agent or broker? Your company may have done some of the work for you! Many CRE companies publish style guidelines that must be followed for consistency across the brand. These guidelines will help craft your individual social story while leveraging the power of your brand.
#2. Name That Profile
How you name your social profiles is important. New platforms become trendy, and they’ll want a username. What will the future “Snapchat” or “Instagram” of the world account be called? Define naming conventions and some alternates in case the primaries are taken. SproutSocial recommends alternative usernames that have “HQ” on the end. This section defines the profile avatar’s appearance. Medium’s style guide spells out the acceptable color and logo schemes, and we love how Skype dictates what a cloud should look like.
#3. Look Who’s Talking
You may have six different social accounts, but the voice coming from them must sound like a single person. The voice you use defines your brand. When defining your voice in the style guide, be descriptive. Don’t just say, “thought leader.” Say, “Well-thought out responses. Backs up with data when possible. Avoids generalizations.”
#4. The Format
How will your posts be formatted? This is not a silly question. Not everyone writes and incorporates tagging the same way. Take the NYU social media style guide as an example. It says to use the account mid-message whenever possible. Following their rules, I’d tweet something like, “Just hanging with the @TCFunnel team at CRE Tech NYC! Come chat with us.” Define where hashtags will appear and how many are acceptable on any given platform. Include any required brand-owned hashtags and their use case.
#5. What’s It Look Like?
Social media is visually driven, so how those images look ia a huge part of selling the cohesive brand. You’ll need to address profile images and graphic as well as visual content shared on platforms. Cover fonts, color combinations, acceptable filters, logo application, and other vital visual data. Love to Ride includes visual examples on how to format their emails and infographics.
A defined social style guide is key to your content marketing strategy. Don’t assume everyone on your team knows how the logo should look in the profile. Teams change, people come and go, and some take creative license if the rules aren’t applied. One social account or ten, present a single, unified face to the world.
Need help with your social media strategy?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. We manage some of the BIGGEST brand’s social media in CRE and more importantly WE GET RESULTS. Can I get an AMEN!?
If you are interested in booking Sarah Malcolm as a speaker feel free to reach out directly at email@example.com.
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