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Branding and Creative Design 101: How to Create a Social Media Style Guide for Your eCommerce Business

Branding and Creative Design 101: How to Create a Social Media Style Guide for Your eCommerce Business

Social media is the go-to place for online entrepreneurs to promote their eCommerce business, and for a good reason. For one, it’s simple to create a social media business page or account for your eCommerce business — it’s also the place where all your customers hang out. If you do decide to create ads to promote your products, the budget you’ll need is considerably lower compared to some other marketing and advertising channels. 

But let’s face it: not all eCommerce business owners posting on social media are successful. The good news is that you can make social media marketing more effective by investing a little time and effort in creating a social media branding and creative design style guide. 

What Is a Social Media Branding and Creative Design Style Guide? 

A social media branding and creative design style guide is a rulebook that details how to present your eCommerce business on social media. This is where you list your eCommerce business’ brand colors, logos, visual guidelines for your posts, and even the voice of your brand. 

Why Does MeCommerce Business Need a Branding and Creative Design Style Guide? 

In today’s digital marketplace, the way you present your eCommerce to your customers on social media determines your success and profit. Creating a social media marketing strategy helps you consistently come up with the types of content you’ll be publishing on your different social media accounts. But that’s only half of the equation. 

You’ll also need to make sure that each post you publish should give your customers the same look and feel about your brand, regardless of what channel you use. Take Dove, for example. One of their social media goals is to empower women of all ages, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds to love their skin. You can clearly see this message in their Instagram posts like this one. 

This message is also resonated in this Tweet. 

 As your eCommerce business grows and your social media channels come alive with comments and engagement from your followers, you may need to bring in more people to manage your accounts. Having a branding and creative design style guide in place is also helpful for when you bring in new people to your teamYou can give your new hires a copy of your style guide so that they’ll familiarize themselves with the types of posts they should create and the captions to write. 

Now, here’s an additional tip: complement your style guide with a content audit as well. A content audit helps you evaluate if your posts (both on your website and social media) have effectively contributed to the fulfilment of your marketing goals. It can reveal content and aspects that are underperforming so you can work on improving them, and your conversions, audience engagement, and more. 

A content audit even helps you determine if your posts accurately reflect your brand, are relevant to your audience, and are consistent throughout your channelsThat is why, ideally, you should complete your content audit both on social media and your website to ensure that they all align with the branding indicated on your style guide. You can also run a content audit at the end or middle of a one-year period so you can acquire and analyze substantial performance data and insights. 

Now that you understand why having a branding and creative design style guide (along with content audit) is essential to your eCommerce business, let’s now learn how to create one. 

Step #1: List All Your Social Media Profiles. 

Each social media channel has its unique profile layout and posting guidelines. That’s why it’s essential that you include all the social media channels you’re currently using to promote your eCommerce business and your products. At the same time, you can gauge the consistency of your social media profiles and see if there are any that look out of sync. You can then revamp your profiles in these social media channels to properly align these with the rest.  

Step #2: Review Your Social Media Usernames. 

One of the common mistakes that many online entrepreneurs make is to use different usernames for each of their social media profiles. 

Your customers search for your social media profiles using the name of your eCommerce business. If you use different usernames for each of your social media channels, you’ll end up confusing them. Ideally, you should only use one username for your eCommerce business’ social media accounts. However, there are times when the username you’ve chosen is already taken, or it’s too long. In situations like this, make sure that you include a list of acceptable backup usernames on your branding and creative design style guide for your social media team to use.

Step #3: Determine the Voice of Your Brand. 

Next to your logo designs, your brand’s voice is the one thing that’ll set your eCommerce business apart from your competitors. That’s because your brand’s voice is essentially how you want your customers to perceive you and your eCommerce business. Your brand voice should match your products and target customers. For example, if you’re selling clothes to teenagers, your brand voice should make you appear young and trendy. 

Step #4: Detail Your Post Formats. 

Posts on each social media channel vary. So, make sure that you include in your branding and creative design style guide how you want your posts to appear for each one. 

For example: Do you want your Tweets to include the whole link of your blog post, or would you prefer to use a short link? Also, make sure that you include a list of the acceptable hashtags to use for your Instagram and Twitter accounts. If you’re planning to use your social media profiles as a customer support channel, make sure you specify what type of identifier you’ll use to help you know who responded. 

Southwest Airlines, for example, has members of their customer support team include their first name in their replies to their customers’ Tweets. 

 

This makes it easier for Southwest Airlines to trace who tweeted the reply. At the same time, it also keeps the Tweet aligned with the airline’s chosen brand voice, which is being warm and friendly. 

Step #5: Specify Your Visual Guidelines. 

As you may have guessed, this is the part of your style guide that details everything about the different visual elements you’ll use and how you use them, from your logo to your brand colors. This is arguably the heart of your branding and creative design style guide because the right visuals can help increase engagement on your social media channels by up to 323%. 

More importantly, these guidelines are what will help make your different social media profiles look cohesive and appealing. You may also want to mention the inclusion of social media logos and the positions they should be in relevant promotional visuals. This allows your audience, especially those who may not yet be aware of your brand, to know and follow your respective account handles across channels. 

This technique is helpful not only for online networking sites, but also when you integrate social media with email marketing and other strategies. 

Step #6: Don’t Forget the Legal Guidelines. 

After putting all the hard work and effort in making your brand stand out on social media, the last thing you’d want is to get slapped with a fine (or worse) because of non-compliance to legal guidelines. This is especially true if you are selling health products or other regulated items on your eCommerce business. Make sure you include in your branding and creative design style guide the proper disclaimers that your social media team should use alongside your posts.  

Social Media Branding and Creative Design Style Guides Build a Powerful Online Presence for Your eCommerce Business. 

In this blog post, you’ve learned what a social media branding and creative design style guide is, why it’s essential, and how to create one. Now, the only thing left for you to do is to put one together for your eCommerce business. 

The key here is to put as much detail in each section and include as many screenshots and samples as you can.  This way, you can build a substantial online presence for your eCommerce business, which is critical to its growth and success. 


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by Marissa Collins //

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.