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Monday, March 12, 2012

Kristal Young: Expand your company's image: branding across social media platforms


By Kristal Young
If you're in business, whether big or small or just thinking about getting started, it's getting to be old news that you should have your company on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Then, once you're set up, you should use it often to reach your clients and customers. But did you know that many of these social media platforms are great opportunities to increase your brand awareness and professional image? A great client of mine, Katie Felten who founded MKELive, gave me my first opportunity to execute this idea when I designed a social media campaign for her. I quickly discovered how valuable this marketing method was and how many more people should be taking advantage of it no matter what stage of business they are in at the moment.

So how does it work? Well, just as you brand your logo and design image on brochures, web site, advertising, etc. ... continue your look onto the social media pages you're using. Instead of using generic or supplied backgrounds from the social media sites that have little or nothing to do with your business, use a custom background and/or profile picture that matches your company exactly. When anyone sees you on the social media page, they instantly recognize your company and you gain extra credibility as a more established, dependable business.

Not only do you have a professionally marketed look, but you can also include important information in the design that might have gotten missed otherwise. For instance, people won't always search your page to find out every detail in your profile, but if your phone number or slogan is smack in front of their faces and highlighted with a unique design they can't miss it. Either way, you'll be able to share your contact information, areas of expertise, or whatever facts you want people to know more easily and quickly.

Still a little unclear? You can see an example of some of our projects on my web site. In this case, Katie's image consisted of her logo, which was an offshoot of MKELive, and the social media icons she used to build her business. Her twitter page resembled her YouTube page, which also stayed consistent with her about me page. As life would have it, in the midst of designing a similar brand image for her facebook page, some new opportunities came up for her career and she decided to change the direction we had been heading. Even though this would mean redoing some of the pages, the good news was this was the Internet we were working with on free social media sites. We hadn't wasted any money in printing, mailing or web hosting costs to reach her target market like we would have in traditional branding strategy methods.

Now I'm not advocating not using those older methods to brand your business, but realize those are just some of the ways we get our company's image into the world. The more opportunities you have to touch your clients with your professional image the better. Each avenue is important and has its own positives and negatives. This social media platform is actually one of the easier ways to brand your image since it's quick to produce and there are no costs for printing or web site hosting. Unlike print media, it has the potential to reach an infinite number of people in your target market at the same design cost similar to a web site. Additionally, when your logo and background images are consistent with the rest of your company's image, it shows the world that your company is modern and keeping up with technology and the times. You're reaching the market segment that is getting most of its information from social media as a trusted, knowledgeable professional.

-- Young, owner and graphic designer of Kristal Clear Graphics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers creative services in print, web and beyond. Now specializing in social media design for business identity, you can visit online at http://www.kristalcleargraphics.com or like Kristal Clear Graphics on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kristalcleargraphicsllc. If you have any questions about how this works or you're interested in learning more about starting your own social media campaign, contact Young at Kristal@kristalcleargraphics.com.

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