Tips for Managing Your Online Style Guide

Brand Guide - 2

When it comes to executing your marketing strategies in the form of social media posts, ads, and other online initiatives, it’s extremely helpful to have a go-to-guide that outlines how the content should look and feel. By keeping your content consistent and unique to your brand, you build trust and loyalty among your audience. Here, we break down the essential elements that will ensure your brand shines online!

Brand Voice & Tone

Developing a unique brand voice makes your organization stand out and improves recognition. Think about what you want your audience to feel when they interact with your content – inspired, informed, encouraged, happy, humored? Defining your brand voice can be as simple as getting a few team members together and brainstorming what keywords describe your organization best. Think about your organizational values, and who you are trying to reach. We suggest coming up with 3-4 key adjectives. Here at Saffire, our brand voice & tone is friendly, fun, authentic, & educational. 

From here, you can use your brand voice and tone to influence your approach to things like:

  • Spelling, punctuation & grammar: While these details might seem small, spelling, punctuation and grammar play a special role in shaping your style. In your style guide, note whether or not you encourage the use of things like abbreviations, exclamation points, trending vocabulary and so on. Whatever it is you decide is best, just make sure you keep it consistent.
  • Emojis: These elements can add some fun and flavor to your posts. In your guideline, take note of where and when to use emojis, or if you want to avoid them altogether.
  • Hashtags: Do you use hashtags? Do you place the hashtags at the end of a sentence, or do you only include them in the comment section of your post? Write down all the hashtags you use, if any, and where they should be placed.
Responding & Engaging with Your Audience

You know you’re doing something right when your audience is commenting on your posts, asking questions, and sharing your content! But how do you respond to their engagement? Here are a few issues to consider for your style guide:

  • Do you “like” every comment?
  • Do you respond to every comment?
  • How do you respond to negative comments?

If you don’t have the time or resources to be hyper-communicative with your followers that’s okay! The important thing is to be consistent so your audience knows what to expect from you.

Visual Content

Have you ever seen a post on social media and without a doubt knew what brand it was from? Chances are they have a strong brand personality that is anchored in the consistent use of imagery, filters, colors, and fonts. To achieve this level of consistency, we’d recommend including these pointers in your style guide:

  • Make sure you’re using photos and videos that complement your brand colors. Include sample photos to show off this concept.
  • Note what photo filters should be used and which ones to stay away from.
  • Keep your logo placement and size consistent on all photos/videos. Use examples to show the dos and don’ts of logo placement.
  • Make sure you are selecting photos/videos that align with your brand voice. Ask yourself, does this image communicate [fill in the blank]? i.e inspiration, fun, humor, motivation.
What & When to Post

So now that you have your brand voice and image defined in your style guide, it’s time to think about how often you want to post, and if you want to include content from outside sources. Things like industry articles, user-generated content, or trending GIFs/memes can be an awesome way to engage your audience. Some questions to be considered and answered in your guide might be:

  • How frequently do you post?
  • Do you only use in-house content, or do you share outside content?
  • What percentage of your posts should be internal content vs. sourced content?

 

Creating an online style guide will help maintain consistency and form a stronger brand identity. Your guide can continue to build and morph as your organization grows and changes, but it’s important to start with these essential elements to maintain cohesiveness when posting!

 

How To Use Instagram Stories for Your Organization

Want to better use Instagram stories to increase engagement and ticket sales for your organization?

 

Instagram stories are the perfect medium to give your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your organization, tell longer stories to engage your audience over time and post cool things that may not be just right for your feed. In this post, you’ll learn how to plan, create and execute and optimize Instagram stories for your business.

 

STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR CONTENT STYLE AND GOALS

 

As with all of your marketing efforts, it’s important to understand your “why.” Goals for your Instagram stories should be intimately tied into your other marketing and organization-wide goals. Think about what you’re hoping to do with your stories. A good tactic is to choose a goal that complements what you are already working on, either with your Instagram feed, other social media or in other campaigns. Another option is to choose what you are missing, instead. Pick a goal that you are not yet hitting with your other initiatives.

 

– Are you looking to generate ticket sales?

– Are you hoping to pull in more engagement?

– Are you hoping to increase followers and brand awareness?

 

Choosing a goal is important. It will help you create content that is better suited for your initiatives and will help in measuring your success. For example, if you’re looking to generate sales, you probably want to create content that drives people back to your website, but if you are looking for engagement, you will want to encourage people to spend more time on your Instagram page.

 

Use this goal to decide which types of content are best for your stories. We suggest choosing 3-4 different types to focus on as you get started. Remember, content can be anything that is useful or engaging to your audience.  Some examples of content types are: Behind the scenes shots, client or customer features, interviews, photos or stories from events, photos of food or animals, promos and deals, how-tos, etc.

 

STEP 2: DECIDE WHAT AND WHEN TO PUBLISH

 

Now that you’ve gone through your “why,” it’s time to decide on your “what.” This means determining a schedule and taking note of your assets. A common mistake we see with Instagram stories is that people believe that their posts must all be in-the-moment content.

 

While live footage can make for great content, what’s most important is the commitment to a consistent cadence of content. Whether this means a weekly series, creating a content calendar around product or ticket releases or simply scheduling time to come up with posts, it is important to schedule posts to supplement your more spontaneous content. AKA, you need to create a plan just like you would create for your regular feed.

 

If you are serious about creating an Instagram Story strategy, we recommend posting at least 2-3 times a week. Unlike feed posts that usually stand on their own, stories are designed to be a series of posts. You could post something on its own, but it is much more likely to see users post a combination of photos, text, and videos that work together to entertain and convey information. Think of it as your own mini TV show or presentation!

 

CREATE AND POST YOUR STORIES

 

Instagram stories are known for all the options they offer to get truly creative. With Instagram Stories, your posts can be as funky (or not) as you want them to be!

 

When it comes to stories, your content should be all about your brand. Because the options are endless (draw here, add music, link to another user’s work), it can be easy to get lost in the sauce. Just like anything else you create, your stories should be representative of your organization. We recommend sticking to your brand colors, deciding on a font or two and selecting a filter to use across the board. Your followers should know it’s you when they view your story without ever seeing your name.

We recommend checking out these design apps to help you get just the right look!

 

– Over: For really great story design templates.

– Canva: A great tool to create stories. Use video with the app.

– Adobe Spark Post: Another great design tool.

 

Remember, Instagram stories have tricky dimensions (9:6), so taking landscape style photos and designing your graphics ahead of time is often best.

 

With this plan, you can focus on posting stories that create engagement and add value to your brand. Remember, the more followers view and engage with your stories, the higher you’ll place in the algorithm!

Introducing Thema Reed: Our Newest Marketing Manager

team-themaThe Saffire Team is so excited to welcome our newest team member Thema Reed to the fold! Thema (pronounced Tay-mah—she says like “Taylor” but with “ma” at the end!) is dedicated to connecting with the Saffire family and sharing all the fun and helpful things Saffire has to offer.

Thema is the third person to join the Saffire team from Albuquerque, New Mexico (shout out to Jessica C. and Austin!).  She is taking on the role of Marketing Manager and joins Saffire with 3 years of communications and digital marketing experience working on social media, content marketing, PR and communication strategy for nonprofits. Before that, she was a Journalism major at Howard University, where she interned in many D.C. newsrooms, including CNN, C-SPAN and WUSA. Thema will be working her writing and editing magic all over Saffire’s marketing efforts!

When she’s not writing all the things, Thema enjoys exploring Austin with her husband and two big fur babies, doing yoga outside and eating lots of tacos.

To learn more about Saffire, Thema or just to say “hey,” feel free to email Thema directly at thema@saffire.com or connect with her on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/themareed/. We hope you can meet her in person at a conference or future Saffire Summit!

Welcome, Thema!

WELCOME RED BLUFF ROUND-UP!

7Saddle on up! The Red Bluff Round-Up has joined the Saffire family and we couldn’t be any more excited! We look forward to working with such an energetic event.

The Round-Up includes a week of events throughout the community including a bowling tournament, foot race, pancake breakfast, street dance, antique shows, Chamber mixer, golf tournament, chili cook-off, parade, dances and much more. The event is a major income booster to the community filling hotels, restaurants and gasoline stations! Being a major PRCA spring rodeo, its timing is ideal for securing top stock contractors as well and world class contestants hungry for season points.

Stay tuned for a new website that’ll surely be “Best In Show”!