Imagine you're about to buy something online: something you've wanted for a long time, with a reasonably large price tag attached. You see an ad in your social media stream for that exact item: how serendipitous! If the logo of the store looked "off" - blurry, or too large, or the wrong colors, would you still feel confident handing over your credit card information?
Visually inspecting products or companies is a practice as old as trading between humans - if something doesn't "look right" or "feel right," we feel skittish about going through with a purchase. Authenticity is extremely important, as any person who's ever paid a steep price for what turned out to be a knock off item will attest. So what does that mean for your brand?
Why is Visual Consistency Important?
While clients that consider, decide, and purchase in one fell swoop are great for business, the reality is that most of them arrive at purchase decision after research, particularly in the B2B world. They'll look, they'll compare you with competitors, they'll keep an eye on your social media and emails for promotions. The entire time they're absorbing your message, they're also making determinations about your trustworthiness. If your social media accounts change visuals on the regular, it comes across as inconsistency, and could kickstart that skittish feeling well before a purchase decision is made.
This isn't to say that you can't provide pictures of item A on one day and item B on another, of course. The core of visual consistency comes from 3 main points:
- Are my images of a similar size, quality, and subject?
If you're posting technical specs on Monday and your site manager's dog on Tuesday, it sends a confusing message to potential partners. Make sure your overall "story" makes sense, day to day and week to week. SocialMediaToday also recommends that you maintain a social media "color palette." If your logo is soft blue and green, for example, avoid bright orange images.
- Am I posting images when my potential customers will see them?
Posting at 9pm when your audience typically works 9 to 5 will mean your carefully-chosen images will be buried in feeds by the morning. Choose a posting schedule and stick to it: this will ensure your brand stays current and competitive. LucidPress points out that there are over 500 million tweets on Twitter alone each day: use smart timing to make sure your images won't get lost in the crowd.
- Do I have social media image guidance in place?
Most large companies keep a guideline in place for all images due to be posted, both for legality and consistency's sake. For example, you might dictate that all in-house images of your product be marked with a specific size logo in the corner. It only takes one well-meaning intern to post a dissonant visual message that will negatively impact your brand.
How Can I Ensure Visual Consistency?
An excellent first step is that aforementioned social media image guidance policy. The act of creating a policy forces your entire team to examine how your brand is visually representing itself, and gets everyone on the same page for images. Hold meetings to periodically examine your social media feeds and discuss what's working, what isn't, and what might need a little adjustment. These filtering efforts will form an image plan that will put your company, products, and services in the best light possible across all of your social media channels. Want to take your improvement even farther? Consider looking into your copy and site text at the same times, for the same reasons.
Consistency on social media is as easy as staying attentive and open to adjustments throughout the process. If you make a habit of checking your own feed once these changes go into effect, you'll find the picture your brand creates is worth the proverbial million words - and then some.