From Design to Branding On Social Networking Profiles
In the days where everyone and their mother has a Facebook Fan Page, a Twitter account and a YouTube.com channel (literally), how can one company stand out on the social web?
The key to social media recognition lies in seeking out ways to show your organization’s unique personality. You’ve got to be on top of what’s new, what’s exciting and what brings that flare to your brand.
Illustrate your brand through personalization of:
Twitter has a few options for branding available. After adding a high quality picture as your icon, make sure you fill out all the profile boxes. This will make it easier for your customers to find you, and for new visitors to understand who you are.
Play around with your background image! For the non-designer, you can either choose from one of Twitter’s Design Themes or purchase a pre-created design theme created by any number of companies.
You can also choose to have a design firm create a Twitter background specifically for your organization, ensuring that your branding will be apparent throughout.
If you are a designer, there are a few important considerations:
Screen resolution will change depending on your visitor. You can choose a size based on the most common Twitter user, or that of actual visitors to your website. A resolution of 1680 x 1200 is generally considered a safe bet. Images must be smaller than 800k, and in .gif, .jpg or .png form.
Keep important text, logos and other images in the top right hand corner/side of the screen. Otherwise, alternate screen resolutions could be completely blocked by the Twitter conversation.
- Once you upload an image, you still need update the design colors for text, links, the sidebar and its border via Settings > Design in your Twitter account.
Your brand is the personality of your business. Make sure you convey that in your tweets – there are plenty of great guides out there, like a Personal Branding Checklist for Twitter and Finding the Right Brand Voice on Twitter. You should also consider segmenting the Twitterers that you follow into Twitter Lists – this can help other potential Twitter followers easily see the subjects you’re interested in.
There is more to YouTube than just videos! Once you’ve made exciting videos you’d like to share with your customers, set up a YouTube channel. Much like Twitter, you can use a YouTube theme and organize “modules” to determine what page elements show up on your channel. We’d recommend having a YouTube background designed for you, or picking an image/color that fits your brand at the very least. The image itself must be a maximum of 256K, and 2000 x 1500 pixels (or proportional to that).
Ahhh, Facebook. With more traffic than Google (some days), Facebook has become more than just a buzzword – it’s become a part of our everyday life. This channel is vital for any business active in the social sphere. Fortunately, Facebook Applications allow us to add an incredible array of interaction and eye-catching design to fan pages.
If the goal of social media is to allow for conversations, provide interaction and ultimately drive traffic to your website, the most important application you can add to your fan page is an FBML (Facebook Markup Language) or HTML landing page. We recommend the Facebook Static FBML application. This simple app allows you to create a tab that uses either HTML or FBML to render original designs.
Through a simple setting you can make this tab the first page new visitors see. Use a professional designer to incorporate your brand’s look and feel, and be sure to include the important stuff (contact info), the fun stuff (videos, images) and the most vital stuff – your website’s URL. It should be eye-catching enough to induce visitors to click through and actually visit your site.
PLEASE NOTE: Landing pages cannot be used on personal profiles. Visitors to your fan page who are already fans will be directly automatically to the wall tab, whereas new visitors will be directed to the landing page if you choose that setting.
Some of my personal favorite applications include Extended Info, My LinkedIn Profile, Notes (this comes standard, so don’t forget to import your blog feed), Page Maps (for local businesses) and YouTube for Pages. Explore the applications gallery to find the ones that best suit your fan page’s needs.
Using some of these fun applications will ensure that visitors “LIKE” your business’s fan page (cheesy pun intended)!
While this certainly isn’t everyone’s favorite social portal, it is valuable for entertainment-based businesses like bands, comedians, actors and more.
MySpace allows for significantly more personalization than other, more popular networks. This can - and has - become an issue for many users that get overwhelmed by the music, graphics and images used by their friends. But for your business, this is a great opportunity!
As on the other networks, you can use MySpace directly via a theme or color picker, or use one of the many available services for theme and graphic customization.
The really exciting options, however, come with using a professional designer. Check out these examples, and then dream up some of your own!
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