Social Media: 35 Brand Attributes to Consider

Are You Paying Attention to Your Brand on Social Media?

Is your brand just a logo that you plaster on social media? If so, your approach to branding may be hindering your social media performance.

It’s critical that your prospects, customers and the public can recognize your brand on social media at a glance. If they need to think about it or can easily confuse you with your competitors, your marketing needs work. (Here’s additional help to define your brand.)

To ensure that your branding is social media savvy, here are thirty-five brand attributes to consider.

Brand name. You need to stake your turf across social media venues just as you do on the Internet. In most cases, this requires thinking beyond your corporate name(s). Depending on the platform, here are some points to consider.

  1. Identifying your brand on social media platforms. Will you use its name or nickname? To this end, consider what name or words your target audience will use when searching on these venues.
  2. Using additional sub-category titles. This can be important to target more niche offerings for customers.
  3. Leveraging your tagline. Taglines are useful to support your positioning. Also, they’re often condensed to three words (hat tip to Chris Brogan.)

Brand voice. Voice encompasses several different attributes on social media platforms.

  1. Authenticity. Does your brand ring true with your target audience on social media? Or do they think that you’re faking it?
  2. Sound. Does your brand have specific noises associated with it such as Microsoft and Intel.
  3. Language. Does your brand have special verbal ticks? Does it have a regional accent or use unique colloquial terms? For example, Mack Collier who runs #BlogChat has a southern accent that he carries over into his tweets. 
  4. Human voice. Since social media involves being a real person, not a façade, does your brand sound like a human being or something void of human emotion?

Brand story. Understand that people remember stories better than a bunch of facts. To this end, it’s helpful to be able to explain how your brand has evolved. It’s your firm or product’s once-upon-a-time. Here are some of the salient ways to tell your organization’s background.

  1. Founder’s story. What gave the owner the initial rational for creating the product or brand. This can also be done for other significant people in your organization.
  2. Company story. How did your company come into being?
  3. Product story. What caused your product to come into being?
  4. Employee stories. Have any of your employees done anything remarkable?
  5. Customer stories. Did your brand influence customers to do something special?

Topics. This relates to the information your prospects and the public seek. In addition to having an impact on your search optimization, it influences where people seek content related to your business.

  1. Products. Is there specific information and news related to your offering that the public seeks. This can relate to groups on LinkedIn, MeetUps and other forms of social media.
  2. Influencers. Are there people who are well known in your field that others listen to? Is it useful for your business to be associated with them?
  3. Location. Does location play a role in how your customers identify themselves? Is your business active in your real life community?

Content curated. Since social media isn’t just about promoting your own content, what other types of information do you share on social media platforms?  (Here’s how to curate content.)

  1. Owned media On social media that you own, such as your blog, you need to think in terms of types of content as well as categories of content. Do you think beyond the link?
  2. Third party media.  Do you share information from a wide range of content offerings or do you only use major brand names like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal?
  3. Social media platforms. Do you use a number of platforms? Are they focused on specific topics or do you share broadly?

Colors. What colors are part of your brand and why? If you’re starting from scratch, make sure that the colors render well on a variety of different devices.

  1. Show colors in context where your audience will see your content. Does it stand out or get washed away? You want to ensure that your colors are visible and easy to reach.
  2. Consider how your colors will render. For example, Joe Pulizzi always wears orange whether it’s a shirt, a suit, or a cummerbund. 

Visuals. On your owned media and advertising, this is relatively easier to control. You can use the appropriate colors and symbols for your brand.

  1. Logo or mascot. Do you have a recognizable image that stands for your brand such as Nike’s swoosh. Here’s Social Media Examiner’s blog and Facebook page.  
  2. Photographs. Do you always use black and white or color to show your images.
  3. Images. Do you have a signature style such as line drawings.

Content format. Consider your content presentation and how it relates to your brand. How is your information presented? Is it default text? Do you use a custom typeface?

  1. Typeface. What font and size will you use as your default? To maximize effectiveness, understand that prospects need to be able to read it. This means type size as well as readability. Consider whether you need to add a version for the blind?
  2. Formatting. Do you make your content easy-to-read by presenting it in small chunks with bolding and highlighting that older people can read. Is it easy-to-read? 
  3. Media Type. Is your content text, image, video, audio or presentation?

Real life presentation.  How is your brand represented at live events. This includes how your target audience and the public experience your brand at retail (whether it’s your stores or other mass merchants). Among the elements to consider are:

  1. Presentation format. For conference presentations, do your employees use tailored powerpoint formats or whatever the conference asks of them? Do they include your branding and Twitter handles?
  2. Branded formats. Do you use targeted presentations with your brand or something more restrictive?
  3. Dress. How do you expect your employees to dress? Is whatever they feel like acceptable or do they need a blazer and tie.
  4. Social media engagement. Are employess allowed to give their opionion or do social media and press comments need to be run by PR?

Management and employees. Who represents your brand? This includes top management who are visible at conferences and in the media as well as your retail employees and sales team who interface with prospects and customers.

  1. Social media engagement. Who embodies your brand on social media? Is it your senior management, social media manager, sales or customer service? Do you have a set of social media guidelines for employees and the public?
  2. Sales. Who engages with prospects? Do they have special guidelines and are they trained on social media?  Are there protocols for customer engagement?
  3. Customer service. Is your customer service team active on social media platforms? Are special skills required (such as the ability to correspond in written format).
  4. Management. Who is allowed to present at various events? Do they need to get special media training?
  5. Company culture. How does your brand culture show through on social media? Who’s involved? How do they dress, what language do they speak.

It’s important to ensure that your brand is recognizable on social media platforms regardless of how much or how little information is presented.

What else would you add to this list of social media branding traits and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Here are some related articles on branding:

Photo Credits: 

  • Tattoo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/japokskee/4391428993/
  • Joe Pulizzi: http://www.flickr.com/photos/toprankblog/7942982406/

 

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  • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

    Hey Heidi, that’s a fantastic check list. This is something I’m improving over time. Trying to capture my personality in my brand is hard but your checklist helps!!
    Ian

  • Rachel A

    This is a very helpful checklist. With such a large amount of clutter in social media, it is important for brands to stand out as being important in order to gain attention from your target audience.

  • Katy

    This is a great list to consider! I think it’s especially great for small businesses struggling with their branding on social media. I’ll have to pass this along.

  • marygrace

    A lot of good points. At the rate social media is growing, it is important that brands do their best to stand out. Doing this in a unique way (while also avoiding coming off as obtrusive/spamming) is critical to an audience.