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How to correctly boost your social media following using offline advertising

Over the last couple of years, social media has become an integral part of most organisation’s communications strategy. It’s used to advertise, engage and to build brand awareness. To amplify your reach and make it easier for your customers to follow you, you will want to link your social media in as many places as possible – such as your website, email signatures, etc. But what about your printed material? Here’s how you promote your social media correctly.

All they need is a prompt

Let’s start with the basic question. Should you include social media in your offline advertising? Short answer, yes (with a few stipulations we’ve listed below). The reason is, people are more inclined to do something if they are prompted to (that’s why a call to action is so effective).  By including mentions of your social media on your offline advertising, recipients are more likely to interact with you.

If it’s not relevant, get rid of it

It should be of no surprise that space is a valuable commodity when it comes to printed media. As such, your social media information should only take up as much space as absolutely necessary.

What this means is that even if you’re across all of the social media channels, then you should only include your most relevant to the target of the advertising. If the piece you are working on is targeted towards the business community, Snapchat wouldn’t be relevant, but other platforms such as Linkedin, Facebook and twitter would.

Don’t include social media if you’re inactive

We’ve spoken numerous times about how important content marketing is. If you’re not actively using your social media, then don’t acknowledge its existence at all. The only thing worse than no social media presence, is one that hasn’t been updated since MySpace reigned supreme. The odd lull-period is fine, (within reason), but if you’re not going to engage with fans on these platforms, then don’t waste their time, and yours, by telling them to look you up. If you’re struggling with content, or simply remembering to push it regularly, it might be time to call in some support.

Don’t alter their logos

Screencap of Instagram's branding guidelines page-

Like most multibillion-dollar companies, social media platforms are pretty protective of their branding and logos. So much so, that breaching their style guides could actually land you in legal strife. Now a good graphic designer will already know this and should advise you of these legal discrepancies during the design process, but it’s better if you understand this from the get-go.

Now realistically the lawyers of Facebook have probably got better things to do than to send cease and desist letters to “Jim’s plumbing”  over a stretched out logo on a business card, but the point still stands. Where you may come into greater problems is on larger print collateral where the logo alterations become more obvious. When using another organisation’s imagery, always consult their style guides if they’re available (a quick Google search will do in most cases) and when in doubt, play it safe. Not only is it poor form on your part, but it also looks unprofessional. (No, Brian, the LinkedIn logo would not look good on the side of a can.)

Another important thing to note is that you need to make sure you’re using up to date logos. Facebook, Twitter, etc. have all altered their logos over the last few years, and it’s incredibly telling when an organisation uses an outdated icon.

Finally, the inclusion of these social media icons shouldn’t draw any attention away from your own branding. Leave them as they are (often times they’ll have a solid white/black/etc. variation which you can use) and keep it simple.

Displaying your social media handles

The last time we posted an article like this (around 3 years ago) we recommended that you include your social media handle to make navigation easier. As the search functionality on all major social media platforms has grown and evolved, this is no longer necessary. Most customers will find you by searching your business name in the correct field. As such, leave them off, they are just clutter.

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