Social Media and the Need for Brand Standards

May 23, 2019

Small businesses often find themselves in a difficult position with social media marketing: on one hand, many feel like their current revenue streams aren’t profitable enough to justify adding a marketing professional to their staffs, while on the other, many intuit that one of the best ways to grow is by expanding awareness of the business through social media. It’s no surprise, then, that many small businesses try to compromise by dispersing social media marketing responsibilities amongst the employees they already have.

It’s easy to think of social media responsibilities as simple, maybe even trivial, but there’s a reason why a growing number of businesses have added a ‘social media professional’ to their rosters: social media marketing and branding can be deceptively difficult.

Imagine, for example, that your firm has an event fast approaching. Nothing can cause an event to fall flat quite like a thin crowd, so you decide to leverage social media to drum up interest. Not wanting to make a big deal of the task, you ask an employee to create a nice graphic for the event and post it to your Facebook page.

We’ve seen firsthand how “simple requests” like these can lead to major headaches. Your employee might find the perfect image online and make it the foundation for the event graphic… only for your firm to receive a copyright infringement notice a few weeks later. Perhaps your employee dodges this landmine by utilizing custom or public-domain images but doesn’t account for resolution when adding your firm’s logo and text; all of the sudden your “nice graphic” becomes a pixelated mess (and, probably, next week’s trending meme).  . Improper sizing, font choice, and color selection can all sink an otherwise sound social media marketing post, and, even worse, cause your company to been seen as dated or ambivalent to the way modern consumers communicate.

At NP Strategy, we often come across clients and prospective clients who have dealt with situations just like those described above. In a perfect world, you’d have the budget to engage a marketing professional to run an effective campaign, but if you aren’t quite ready to make that leap, there are a few basic steps you can take on your own to execute social media marketing in a more professional manner.

Establishing brand standards and compiling a portfolio of approved base images will go a long way towards protecting your firm from legal issues and instilling a sense of professionalism in your media presence.

Your brand standards should include:

  • Specific colors (just “red” or “blue,” but six-digit hex triplets used by graphic designers)
  • One or two fonts, preferably with sizing standards
  • Cleared images (either those that you’ve bought the rights to or those you’ve created yourself)
  • Language guidance (phrases, slogans, hashtags)

Every social media post – whether it’s promoting an event, a campaign, or simply reinforcing your brand – is a very public, very permanentstatement. At the end of the day, it’s your identity – handle it with care.


J. Bradley Studemeyer combines practical experience in the public policy arena with an academic career spent studying the intersection of beliefs and actions, to help clients to untangle their most complicated strategic concerns. Prior to coming to NP Strategy as Project Analyst, J. Bradley spent two years working with Dr. Bruce Cole, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

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