When I’m helping a client put together their social strategy, one of the things we focus on is authenticity. (And no, I don’t mean oversharing.) For me, authenticity is when you sound like…you. In a nutshell, that’s what we talk about when we talk about being “on brand.” Does that post sound like you? Does it look like you? Does it “fit” with what you’re all about?
Imagine if Coke made all of its posts green and blue. Or if Sesame Street started posting rants. Or if Disney suddenly went R rated. None of those things are wrong per se. (And don’t get me wrong, I’d be first in line to watch the fallout.) But they’re wrong for those brands.
When you go “off brand” you’re basically breaking the promise you’ve made to your fans about what they can expect from you. The more you do it, the bigger the impact will be on your brand. When people “tune in” to your feed, they’re expecting certain things. If you stop delivering, they’ll stop showing up. Ack!
So how do you stay on brand? Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy.
Know what you’re all about
Here’s some homework for ya. Create a brand identity that outlines your mission, your goals, your audience, your tone, and your look and feel. Once you know what you’re “about”, who you’re talking to, and how you want to sound, it’s way easier to create content that’s on brand. This is especially true if you’re going to start outsourcing social media or other marketing assets – you don’t want someone “guessing” what your brand is based on like some vague hand-wavey stuff. Help them help you!
Pre-make some assets (and rules)
It’s way easier to stay on brand when you have a library of visuals and even copy moments to tap into. What’s your color palette? Which filters are okay? If you’re using music, what style should it be? Do you use emojis or not? Are you team green screen, or team natural backgrounds? Get ahead of the game with a bunch of simple templates and rules that make it easy to whip up content without having to figure out if something is “on brand” every time. The less thinking you have to do, the better.
Keep putting your mission out there
Great brands always go back to their mission. How does your content reflect your purpose? If you’re an eco-friendly company, make sure your content celebrates what you’re doing to keep our planet green. If you’re all about literacy, ensure that you’re posting about books, reading tips, and orgs who are helping get books into kids’ hands. When you remember your “you”, it’s easy to stay on brand.
Have an approval process
Whether you’re creating content in-house or having someone else do it, double check everything going out under your brand (especially in this world of user-generated content). There should be one person who gets final say over whether a piece of content is good to go or needs to go back to the drawing board. (If you’re working on cultural or political content, definitely have an expert give you the thumbs up before you go ahead.) A good approval process will stop those “ruh roh” moments before they happen.
Need some help getting – and staying – on brand?
Struggling with what to say and how? We’ve got your back. At Oh Snap, we’re wizards (well, witches) at defining and articulating brands – and at creating killer content that sounds like it’s straight from your brain. Ready to get on brand? Let’s talk!