If you want to stand out on social media and earn the respect of your followers, you need to create a visual brand that instils confidence, trust and familiarity.
Online interactions are getting shorter and shorter, which means you have less time than ever to captivate your audience’s attention. However, you can still do it with visuals as they are instant and worth a thousand words.
Never underestimate your visual identity
First and foremost, never, ever underestimate the importance of your visual identity.
Even though it’s just a small part of your overall company, it’s inevitably the first thing your customers and prospects start relating to when they interact with your business.
For example, take the photos of yourself you use on your bio page or Facebook profile. What looks better? A candid shot of you eating a burger snapped on a mobile phone or a professional headshot that radiates a sense of respectability and professionalism?
That’s why you should spend an appropriate amount of time designing, constructing and developing your visual identity and not stop until you are 100% happy with every element.
Differentiate yourself from the crowd
Competing in busy marketplaces is something that all brands have to do, but it’s often much harder (and much more crucial) for smaller businesses.
Simply saying you’re different isn’t enough, especially on today’s super-crowded social networks. Your audience needs to see easily and quickly what it is that differentiates you from your competitors and one of the best ways to do this is via your visual identity.
While logos are often small and simple, think how massive they are for recognition. When you see the McDonald’s or Starbuck’s logo, you instantly know the company behind it and what they sell. A logo is the fastest form of communication between a brand and its customers.
Think about your niche
There’s differentiating yourself from the crowd and there’s being total irrelevant and random for your industry. Do the former and refrain from the latter.
What am I talking about? I’m referring to the brands that create logos and visual identities that simply do not complement the industry in which they operate. For example, a solicitor’s firm is highly unlikely to use a logo or main image that’s in a cartoon-style or overly jovial in nature.
Instead, most focus on emphasising the name of the law firm and often do away with a logo altogether. That’s because it’s the name that commands respect and instils trust with people.
Be consistent across channels and build trust
Consistency is key when building trust between your company and its audiences. The world’s biggest brands consistently use branded visuals, standard stock images, consistent colour palettes and specific fonts so their followers get to know what to expect and can relate to every publication in a much faster time.
As your audiences learn the themes and general visual branding you utilise, it will all become second nature to them and instil a sense of trust every time they see something you’ve produced. This sense of trust is so important and even a change of tone in your writing can be enough for your audience to question if this really is your company talking or an imposter.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and be creative
What is the current image you’re using for you brand’s Facebook cover photo? Chances are you haven’t changed it in a while because it’s one you like and one that your customers have grown to recognise.
Now I know I just said to be consistent, but bear with me.
Think for a second about the potential that single cover image has. It occupies a super valuable piece of social media real estate, which is why you should look to be creative with it.
For example, why not use your Facebook cover photo to promote upcoming events, new products and/or special offers. It’s literally the first thing your followers see when they land on your Facebook page, so make it work to your advantage.
Changing it for a few weeks to promote something important is absolutely fine and will not undermine your attempts to be consistent.
Do you have any tips for creating a winning visual identity? Perhaps you can share your story with me and my followers. I’d love to hear from you!
Social Media Consultant
I’m a Social Media Consultant and all I want is to help small local businesses to navigate through the sometimes confusing world of digital marketing.