Social Media Style Guide: 5 Important Tips (Templates Included)

Ashima Jain

February 8, 20249 min read

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Does your brand's social media presence feel scattered and uncoordinated? Despite posting great content, a lack of cohesion can prevent you from building a strong and engaged audience. 

So, how can you ensure you're hitting your social media targets every single time? That's where a social media guide comes into play. This style guide could be the “ace up your sleeve” that you didn't realize you needed.  

In this blog, we will discuss how to craft a social media style guide and why your brand desperately needs one.  

Table of Contents

What is a social media style guide?

A social media style guide is a document that outlines the specific style choices you make for your brand on social media. This includes your brand's voice, tone, language, hashtags, community guidelines and visual identity. Having a social media style guide is crucial as it aids in providing your audience with a unified and consistent experience across all platforms. 

Why does your brand need a social media style guide?

"What's all the fuss about this style guide?" you may be wondering. Let me explain in more detail.  

Authenticity is important to 88% of consumers when deciding which brands to like and support. So, if you are a brand that wants to be looked at as authentic, you need to have your social media style guidelines in place.  

Here are some primary advantages of having a well-defined social media style guide for your brand. 

  • Consistency: Consider your brand to be a character in a story. It is consistency that keeps it authentic and recognizable. A style guide ensures that your content is consistent across platforms. This is important because it aids in the development of brand recognition and trust among your target audience without confusing them. 

  • Brand identity: Does your brand have a personality? Like your wardrobe, your brand’s style guide should reflect its overall identity. It has guidelines regarding your brand's voice, tone and visual style, ensuring that everything is consistent with your brand’s ethos. Creating a style guide ensures that all your social media content is on-brand. 

  • Collaboration: Having a team manage your social media is like having a choir—everyone needs the same sheet music. A style guide ensures that everyone is singing in unison. This is especially important for large teams or remote teams.  

How to create an effective social media style guide

Creating a social media style guide may appear daunting, but here's what you need to know.  

Step 1: Begin by defining your brand identity

This is the “Know Thyself” part. What is the vibe of your brand? What do you believe in? Achieving this is akin to establishing the compass for your style guide. 

Step 2: Consider your target audience

Who do you want to reach with your social media content? Who is in your fan club? What are their preferences? What kind of content do they interact with? This is the key to personalizing your guide so that it resonates with your audience. 

Step 3: Be specific

Details matter when it comes to the finer points. Your social media style guide should be as specific as possible, covering everything from the tone of your content to grammar guidelines and even hashtag usage.  

5 actionable tips for social media style guide

You've nailed the details? Fantastic! It's time to put this guide's action plan into practice now. You can begin creating your social media style guide once you have a firm grasp on your target market, brand identity and style guidelines. Here are some fundamental strategies to make your guide stand out:  

Have a platform-centric approach

Each social media platform has its format specifications, such as character limits, image sizes and video formats. To ensure that your content is displayed correctly and looks its best, while retaining your brand's style, your social media style guide should include specific guidelines for each platform.  

Let's look at some popular social media platforms and how you could adapt the content format based on the platform's nature. 

Instagram  

  • Make use of high-quality images and videos in square or vertical format 

  • Make short captions of no more than 2,200 characters 

  • To reach a larger audience, use relevant hashtags 

  • Respond to comments and likes to engage with your followers 

 X (formerly Twitter) 

  • Keep your tweets to 280 characters or less 

  • Use relevant hashtags to reach a wider audience 

  • Engage with your audience by replying to tweets and retweeting interesting content 

 LinkedIn  

  • Share long-form content, such as articles, blog posts and white papers 

  • Use high-quality images and videos to break up your text and make your content more visually appealing 

  • Include a call to action in your posts to encourage your audience to take a specific action, such as visiting your website or signing up for your newsletter 

 Facebook 

  • Share a mix of long-form and short-form content, such as articles, blog posts, images, videos and links 

  • Use high-quality images and videos to break up your text and make your content more visually appealing 

  • Engage with your audience by responding to comments and questions 

Tailor communication as per audience needs

After you've decided on your social media platforms, consider what your target audience wants to see. This will depend on your industry and the platforms you use, but some general guidelines apply to all business accounts. 

Here's an example of what the social media style guide of a consumer-lifestyle business would contain: 

  • How and by when to respond to inquiries, concerns or complaints from customers 

  • Will your messaging be focused on products or services, or will you also be sharing company news and culture? You can do a mix of both, but it's important to have a clear focus so that your audience knows what to expect. 

  • Tips on managing leads generated from social media

  • What would be the best time to post on social media? Again, you can define it by platform. 

  • Consistency of color schemes and designs across all your platforms. 

Deep Dive: Your Complete Guide to Audience Targeting | Sprinklr  

Define messaging and keywords

Your audience follows the breadcrumbs provided by your key terms. Define these terms and keywords based on your audience's needs. This ought to complement the voice and tone of your brand. Here are a few tips:  

  • Determine your brand's key messages 

  • Make use of your keywords when posting on social media 

  • Include keywords in your social media bios and hashtags 

Keep it brief

Be concise. Don't make your guide too long — a few pages at most. Jargon should be left at the door. To ensure that everyone reading it can understand what you're saying, keep it brief and to the point. 

Be mindful of the following: 

  • Make it easy for your team members to read and reference. 

  • Use bullet points and numbered lists to make your guide easy to scan 

  • Avoid using clichés and overused phrases 

  • Avoid using jargon or technical terms 

Make it pop

An eye-catching guide captures your attention and holds it, much like a captivating film. To make it visually appealing and engaging: 

  • Incorporate a few images, graphics, fonts and typefaces 

  • Keep the color scheme of your guide consistent 

  • Use white space to make your guide easy to read 

Sample templates for your social media style guide

Templates function as your guide's foundation. Numerous social media style guide templates can be found on the internet. You must alter the template to suit your unique branding requirements. 

Mailchimp

Some of the most remarkable graphics and messaging on the internet can be found on Mailchimp. Interestingly, their style guide is entirely text-based. Ironical, yet true. The end objective is to use what works.

Mailchimp's social media style guide.

Source  

Skype 

Skype, the popular video chat platform, has a social media style guide that is both fun and communicative. It's a great example of how your style guide could look like. What makes Skype's social media style guide is that it is authentic, visual and interactive at the same time.  

 Skype's social media style guide

Source  

Must-haves in a social media style guide

Consider this as your go-to checklist for a social media style guide. Here are a few must-haves: 

Brand Overview

This is the soul of your guide. A more condensed version of the "About Us" section. Your brand's identity, values and mission should all be briefly yet clearly summarized in this section. 

A brand guidelines template

Source 

Target audience

Who are the members of your squad? Draw a swift portrait. A succinct synopsis of your target audience's characteristics, passions and problems should be included in this. Remember, personalization is the key.  

Your social media style guide should be tailored to your target audience. Think about the kind of content they engage with and the tone that resonates with them. 

Tone and voice

Your social media style guide acts as a road map for your brand's voice and tone across all platforms. It should clearly define your brand's personality—whether it's friendly and conversational, professional and authoritative or a delightful mix of both.  

By embracing a consistent voice and tone, your guide aids in the creation of content that consistently resonates, resulting in a relatable and unified brand presence. 

Skype's brand voice guide.

Source 

Read More: How to develop a tone of voice for your social media 

Punctuation and grammar

Being a grammar-Nazi while paying close attention to grammar and punctuation within your social media style guide is the foundation of linguistic consistency. It's not just about using correct grammar; it's about sticking to a specific style that reflects the personality of your brand.  

Setting these language rules ensures consistency and professionalism, demonstrating the brand's attention to detail in all content. Mailchimp has done a good job defining the grammar and punctuation mechanics.  

Mailchimp's content style guide contains a section on grammar

Source 

Typography

An effective social media presence is largely dependent on typography, the art of text arrangement. It improves readability, establishes the mood and keeps things consistent. Selecting the appropriate fonts guarantees inclusivity for a range of audiences, creates hierarchy and adds visual interest.  

However, typography isn’t just about choosing pretty fonts. It’s about creating an experience. By creating a social media style guide, you are doing more than just organizing text; you are shaping your brand’s perception. 

Google's typography guide

Source 

Emojis

Emojis can be used to tell a story on social media, attract attention, express a particular emotion and convey feelings. Emojis should, however, be utilized in marketing to highlight words rather than to replace them.  

While emojis are all fun and interesting elements, it is important to use them cautiously to improve your social media accessibility. Here are some do's and don'ts of emoji usage you should consider including in your brand's social media style guide. The best way to use emojis on various platforms depends on the platform's characteristics and the voice of the brand.  

Multimedia

This should specify how you would like images and videos edited for your brand. Are you going to use stock photos or just ones made especially for your company? Are you going to include a watermark?  

To maintain your brand's recognition, you should also think about any filters you might apply to photos. To ensure consistency across your social media channels, consider the format and music selection for your videos. 

Hashtags

Hashtags are essential to group together conversations or content around a certain topic, making it easier for people to find content that interests them.  

Use all relevant hashtags to give the much-needed boost to your brand’s social media reach and engagement. Here's how Spotify uses the relevant hashtags efficiently. 

Spotify Instagram Post

Must Read: How to find the hashtags that actually work

Social media style guide examples

Now, you have an idea about what elements to include in your social media style guide.  

Let's look at a few examples of social media style guides from well-known brands: 

Spotify

The music-streaming giant has often been lauded for its dynamic and engaging social media presence. They usually keep a lively, witty and music-centered tone.  

Their content frequently includes clever wordplay, pop culture references and interactive elements, to connect with music fans in a fun and relatable way. Their visual style is often bright and colorful, incorporating album art, colorful graphics and artist-related content. 

Spotify's social media style guide

Source 

Netflix 

Netflix is known for its streaming services and original content, and its social media presence is typically conversational and trendy. They frequently use humor, memes and references to their popular shows and movies to engage their audience.  

Their visual content is engaging, with teaser trailers, behind-the-scenes footage and user-generated content. They strike a balance between being approachable and professional, reflecting the interests of their audience while upholding their brand image. 

Netflix's social media style guide

Source

Key Takeaways 

A social media style guide is the secret ingredient for a brand's social media success. It provides a clear framework for creating consistent and cohesive content, which is critical for increasing brand recognition and trust among your target audience. 

In this blog, we have already covered how having a well-defined social media style guide allows brands to:  

  1. Craft a unique brand voice 

  2. Create consistent content across all platforms  

  3. Establish a strong and consistent brand presence on social media  

  4. Ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page  

  5. Be more efficient 

  6. Boost Engagement 

  7. Become a trendsetter 

All things considered, a social media style guide is a crucial resource for any brand hoping to establish a strong online presence. You can make sure that the content you produce is efficient, on-brand and consistent by developing a style guide specifically for your brand. 

Are you prepared to enhance your online persona on social media? Sprinklr Social can help you ace your social media game.

Request a demo today! 

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