A social media style guide is an an essential blueprint for the visual and linguistic presentation of your brand on social platforms. This guides the strategy for your social media content and shapes the perception of your brand.
Dec 31, 2023
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Strategy
Social media style guides function as roadmap for communicating your brand’s identity and values across social platforms. By investing the time in creating a social media style guide, you can ensure consistency, efficiency, and a stronger brand presence with your social media content. Brand identity on social media will shape how your audience perceives and interacts with your social handle, creating a lasting impression that distinguishes you among other content, and strengthens the engagement and individual connection between followers.
This documents shapes your multi-channel content strategy, influencing public perceptions, conversations, and the emotional connections between audience and your brand. This document should outline the specifics of voice, tone, language, visual elements, and interaction styles that should be used across social platforms. Social media style guides are distinctly different from a social media marketing strategy. While the latter focuses on tactical elements such as content types, publishing frequency, and methods to achieve specific social media objectives, the style guide zeroes in on the representation and articulation of these actions.
Benefits of Using a Style Guide
The primary benefits of using a social media style are in the ability to ensure consistency across your brand's social media platforms, which is crucial for establishing a recognizable brand identity. In scenarios where a brand’s social media presence appears disjointed, as if managed by multiple individuals with differing styles, the lack of consistency can become obvious to others. Regardless of the number of hands managing your social profiles, the style guide ensures that every tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram caption reflects a consistent and recognizable brand identity. Using a brand style guide will streamline the content creation and approval processes for social media teams, providing everyone with a clear understanding of your brand’s social media persona and content style. This also creates a consistent framework for input and feedback on contributions, giving individual team members more creative capabilities through examples and a process for content creation.
Elements of a Style Guide
A comprehensive social media style guide should encompass the rules that govern all your social profiles and ensuring that each platform has guidelines to communicate your brand's unique personality and message. While it's important for the guide to ensures that everyone who is posting on behalf of the brand will create content that is consistent with the brand identity, there is also flexibility to tailor each instance for the unique needs of each platform and circumstance for which the content is being made. While a style guide has rules and standards, it is also important for the individual who is using the style guide to interpret the contents in a way that does not stifle their creativity and content output.
Brand Voice and Tone
This section describes the personality of your brand. Is it professional, friendly, humorous, or authoritative? The tone might vary slightly depending on the platform and context, but the underlying voice should remain consistent.
Language and Grammar
Specify the type of language to use. Should it be formal or informal? Are there certain industry terms or jargon that should be included or avoided? Your social media posts should follow specific grammatical standards and clarify linguistic nuances like exclamation points or abbreviations.
Hashtags & Emojis
Include how and when to use hashtags, and any brand-specific hashtags that should be used for specific types of content. Guidelines and limitations on emojis should also be included.
Specify color palette, logo usage, font styles, and video and images types, and include guidelines for their application in different contexts, like contrasting color schemes for text posts or when specific types of visual assets should be used. New content should reference a style guide before any production work is started.
Each social media platform caters to a different audience and operates differently. Your guide should clarify strategies for platforms and how each asset should be used. For example, short-form video on TikTok may not have the same visual and language requirements as images or text posts on a different platform.
When should a brand respond to users and what should they say? Your style guide should instruct the process of interacting with individual users and different circumstances that would require different responses. This includes guidelines on responding to comments, handling negative feedback, and user-generated content policies.
Legal and Ethical Guidelines
Ensure compliance with copyright laws, fair use, and platform-specific regulations. This may include general limitations that any social media handle should follow and limitations specific to your brand or industry.