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April 24, 2015

Social profiles for business

The right balance of consistency and variation

As we are all aware, social platforms are the perfect marketing tool for business. Businesses aren’t just using one social platform, they are using several in order for their brand message to reach the optimum amount of online users. With new platforms constantly emerging, it is vital to choose the right platforms for your brand and target audience. Think carefully about the personalities of your customers, where will you captivate their attention? Foremost, do your research. This may seem obvious, however many people invest time on setting up a profile that doesn’t work for their brand. Research is a fundamental part of an effective brand strategy.

Popular networks amongst eCommerce businesses include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. But why would a user need to follow you on more than one of these platforms? Variation provides justification for this. There needs to be variety of communication across each platform, including a good mix of images, promotions, news, shares, and conversation. Users do not want to see the same posts on each profile, keep it varied and try to avoid any repetitive posting or scheduling – Keep it fun!

Consistency is key

So, tell me a little about your brand’s personality? – Great! I’m sure you could chat all day about the subject, however are your social profiles echoing this? Say, I’ve not visited your shop to see what you have on offer, I’ve not spoken to one of your friendly sales consultants, infact, I’ve not even been on your website. I want to see what your brand is about; I instinctively log in to my preferred online platform or go to my dearest iPhone app.

Sustaining a core brand message is crucial and a key part of recognition and success. The brand personality needs to shine through those devices, not three or four personalities, just one – your message needs to be cohesive across platforms. One thing we’ve noticed, dare I say it, even on our favourite brands is that the experience from one social platform to another can feel somewhat disjointed.

It’s not just your brand message that needs to stay consistent, it’s also important for your posts to remain frequent; Avoid being overactive one day and sleepy the next. Post regularly but not too often, you don’t want to get lost in their timelines but you also don’t want to switch them off. If you are posting regularly on one platform be careful not to neglect others, be fair to your followers.

This goes the same with the upkeep of your profiles; is your header adaptive across devices, are the sizing of the images correct?

Device friendly header images

Consider design and sizing to ensure your profile looks great on every device. Check your background images and headers do not distract from your logo or profile picture. On Twitter and Facebook for instance, your profile image is situated on the left and covers part of the header image. This header is your hero image, the first thing people see when they click on your profile. Check across devices to ensure that your profile image is not covering anything you want to be seen, you don’t want half a piece of text or an important image hiding away.

You can find header templates online, here is an example of a template for Twitter:

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Image sizing

When uploading images to a post check whether all of the image viewable without the user having to click on it? Often images can crop themselves, be aware of the sizings for each platform and re-size if applicable. It may take a few minutes extra but it will certainly provide a more compelling post. For help with the ideal image size, we recommend Kevan Lee’s recent article.

Test and refine

Have you got the right balance of consistency and variation? Some of this may seem very obvious to you, but this post will act as a checklist for your current social profiles. Contemplate what people are engaging with and use this to guide you. Capitalise on what works well for your brand but also other brands. Get it right and you will reap the rewards!