Maintaining a consistent and active presence is key to maximizing the benefits of social media marketing. But more than that, consistency in social also relates to how you post, how you communicate with your audience and what you share.
This is a key element in all branding, of course - if you want your audience to build an association and affiliation with your business, you need to be able to communicate what your company is about. But one aspect that shouldn't be overlooked in this process is visual consistency, building your brand through your use of color, tone and branding.
And given the increasing focus on visuals in social media marketing, the need to factor this element in is now more important than ever.
In line with this, Twitter recently outlined three best practices for visual consistency in tweets.
They're simple notes, but they're definitely worth keeping in mind and integrating into your own marketing process - especially as you look to new ideas for your 2017 strategy.
1. 'Maintain a Consistent Color Palette'
Some of the biggest brands in the world are immediately identifiable by color association alone. Think Starbucks green or Tiffany's blue.
Consistency like this is no accident, these brands have made color a critical element of their process, a key consideration in their outreach efforts.
That approach also flows over to their social presences - and while we can't all have the brand ubiquity of these large-scale corporations, we can take some pointers from this approach and how they use it to help establish their brand.
As noted by Twitter:
"... limiting your marketing materials to one main color and a few accent hues can make your ads more distinct than using the whole rainbow. This choice will also ease future design decisions, because you'll always have a starting palette."
Twitter puts forward Kilgray as an example of this, using a distinctive color tone that helps them maintain consistency in everything they tweet.
The counter to this would be that it can seem boring, even repetitive in your feed, but you have to remember that most people won't see your posts on your Page (at least initially), they'll see them in their feed, amongst other tweets and posts. Given this, maintaining that color consistency can help ensure your messages stand out and improve brand association.
Worth noting too, it's not necessarily about sticking to one color, it's more about establishing a subset of complimentary colors and tones that you can utilize to maintain consistency across your various efforts.
Here's another example, this time from Oreo's Instagram presence.
As you can see, the colors are more varied, but they're all complimentary and within the same tone set.
A simple way to ensure you maintain color focus is to use an online color wheel to select the color and complimentary tones you like, then use that as your base reference point.
2. 'Evoke a Feeling with Filters'
Image filters are another key element to consider. Originally popularized on Instagram, filters are now available, in some form, on most social platforms, including Twitter. And while it can be tempting to scan through and use different filters for different images and occasions, Twitter advises that brands should again look to use a specific filter, or set of filters, to help maintain consistency.
"Choose a few filters, angles, or subjects that complement your business - then stick to them. Filter consistency will give all of your pictures a similar look and feel with just a snap (and a few swipes). Repeating similar angles and subject matters helps to solidify that mood."
Twitter puts forward Home Chef as a good example of this:
As you can see, each image has the same tone and angle, which helps Home Chef maintain focus, while also underlining that approach with each image.
Maintaining a consistent approach to your image creation helps establish that recognition, while also eliminating some of the questions around what filters to use and approach to take in the creation phase.
3. 'Claim Your Business' Images with Text Overlays'
With the increased emphasis on images and visual content, there's also come a bigger need for brands to create their own, custom images, rather than using the same stock photos. Sure, you can use stock images - and in some cases it makes sense - but when building your brand, it's beneficial to maintain control over the visual elements. And given the availability of quality camera equipment these days, it's easier than ever to do so.
One problem with this is that your images can also get 'repurposed'. Once they're out there online, it's easy for people to use your visual content in other contexts - and this is not always in an image theft type scenario. Some people might simply like your photo and re-post it without giving appropriate credit.
It's difficult to totally stop this type of use. Definitely, in the case of copyright theft, you have scope to enforce your rights, but for other scenarios, it may actually be more beneficial to use them to advantage, rather than cracking down.
On this, Twitter suggests that brands use text and branding overlays to ensure any such use keeps building brand awareness.
"Make sure everyone instantly knows an image is yours, even when it's Retweeted by your followers (or target audience) to users who are less familiar with your business. Place your business's name or Twitter handle on your media and ensure potential customers can always trace their steps back to you."
Twitter says Namely is a good example here, putting their logo on every image, helping to maintain both brand consistency and recognition.
It's a good tip - it may not always work or be in line with your approach, but a worthy consideration either way, and one which can definitely help in your wider visual branding strategy.
Any way you look at it, visuals are important in social media marketing. This extends to all platforms, but is notable on Twitter specifically - Twitter's own research has shown that tweets with images can generate up to 313% more engagement than those without (and also worth noting, tweets with GIFs and video are also highly effective). As such it's important to consider your visual strategy beyond simply attaching photos. Adding an image in itself will be beneficial, but using that as part of your wider branding strategy and process will help boost brand recognition and further establish your presence.